Thursday, November 02, 2006

Open Courseware Consortium

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:
In addition to being a great resource for learners worldwide, sharing course materials and notes is also helpful because universities around the world can find top quality coursework and adapt it to their own learning environments. The idea is that the more we share educational materials with the world, the better place the world will be to live.

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.

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