Tuesday, March 13, 2007

MIT's OpenCourseWare Project Nears Completion

The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog: MIT's OpenCourseWare Project Nears Completion

MIT's OpenCourseWare Project Nears Completion

When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the formation of its OpenCourseWare project (The Chronicle, April 20, 2001), the plan struck some observers as far-fetched: Putting online the instructional material for nearly 2,000 college courses isn’t exactly a simple task.

Nearly six years later, though, MIT has lived up to its lofty aspirations. Campus officials have told the Associated Press that the university will have digitized and posted material for all of its courses by the end of the year. (Currently, the institution has posted resources from more than 1,400 classes.) When they started the project, MIT administrators predicted that they would need about 10 years to complete it, so this could be the rare institutional endeavor that meets its goal well ahead of schedule.

Of course, the OpenCourseWare program may never really be finished in the traditional sense: New courses will pop up, syllabi will change, and new distribution methods will render others obsolete. But the announcement still marks a milestone, especially for other institutions — including the University of Notre Dame, the University of California at Irvine, and Utah State University — that have followed MIT’s lead and started making their own course material available free online. —Brock Read

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