• Photo: Robyn Schwab, Tufts University

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  • Attendees at the Wednesday opening event of the OCW Consortium Global 2011 included John Seely Brown, center, the former chief scientist of Xerox Corporation, and MIT President Emeritus Charles M. Vest, right.

    Photo: Robyn Schwab, Tufts University

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Consortium celebrates 10 years of OpenCourseWare


President Susan Hockfield and MIT welcomed more than 225 educators from around the world on Wednesday to the OpenCourseWare (OCW) Consortium Global 2011. This year’s OCW Consortium Global is a three-day celebration of the first 10 years of OpenCourseWare. Panels, presentations and posters reflect upon the impact of OCW and look forward to its future.

Ten years ago, in April 2001, MIT announced the MIT OpenCourseWare initiative on the front page of The New York Times. Today, the OCW Consortium is a worldwide community of educators and organizations committed to advancing OCW and its impact on global education. To date, 200 universities have published more than 15,000 courses, including more than 2,000 courses at MIT.

“If we nurture the global intellectual commons by reaching out to work with collaborators around the world to share our knowledge freely, and if we prepare our students to appreciate the value of this remarkable tradition, so beautifully embodied by the OCW Consortium, we will go a long way toward inventing a better future for all,” Hockfield said.

Attendees were inspired by keynote speaker Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media. O’Reilly challenged the audience of OCW developers and educators to think about how they might encourage OCW users to contribute back to published OCW courses, and not just download them. He reminded the audience that “an architecture of participation means that your users help extend your platform.”

The conference featured a panel of distinguished MIT faculty and administrators who were instrumental in supporting the development of OCW at MIT. President Emeritus Charles M. Vest launched the panel and reminisced on MIT’s institutional decision to launch OCW. He was joined by two early supporters of OCW, Chancellor Emeritus Lawrence S. Bacow (now president of Tufts University) and Provost Emeritus Robert A. Brown (now president of Boston University). The audience also heard from Hal Abelson, the Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering; Shigeru Miyagawa, the Kochi Prefecture-John Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language and Culture; and Dick K.P. Yue, the Philip J. Solondz (1948) Professor of Engineering — all of whom served on the faculty committee that recommended OCW.

Looking beyond MIT, the conference also heard from early adopters of OCW. Associate Provost Mary Lee of Tufts University; Associate Professor Sukon Kanchanaraksa of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; and Kevin Barry, associate director of the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Notre Dame, talked about several of the first OCW programs that followed MIT’s. Professor Yoshimi Fukuhara of Keio University reflected on bringing OCW to Japan, and Chet Wrzesinski, director of the U.S. office of China Open Resources for Education, described the experiences of Chinese universities.

The OCW Consortium Global 2011 continues through Friday at the Boston Marriott Cambridge in Kendall Square.


Topics: Education, teaching, academics, MIT presidency, Open access, OpenCourseWare, Special events and guest speakers

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