Many of you have probably heard about the MIT Open courseware initiative in which MIT developed a platform where instructors could posts all course notes and materials online to the world for free. Well, another exciting move has taken place in which the MIT Open Courseware site has expanded to the Open Courseware Consortium, which asks participating universities from around the world to use the platform to openly share course materials with the world. Currently, worldwide membership includes universities from the following countries: Austria, Canada, France, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, UK, US, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Contributing universities in the US thus far include:
- Defense Acquisition University
- Harvard Law School, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Michigan State University
- Tufts University
- University of California, Irvine
- University of Michigan School of Information
- University of Notre Dame
- Utah State University
- Utah Valley State College
- Wheelock College
It is important to note the difference between free online materials and an online course. The courseware itself is only a platform to share educational materials, which is one part of the educational process. The educational process involves student engagement with the instructor, their peers, and the materials. An online course provides all three levels of engagement and is highly interactive and collaborative, whereas the courseware materials are only one part of the process. That said, free coureware materials are still a very valuable asset to the world.