MIT OpenCourseWareOpenCourseWare is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to put all of the educational materials from MIT's undergraduate- and graduate-level courses online, free and openly available to anyone, anywhere, by the year 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) can be considered a large-scale, web-based publication of MIT course materials. The project was announced in 2001. The concept of MIT OCW grew out of the MIT Council on Education Technology, which was charged by MIT's provost in 1999 with determining how MIT should position itself in the distance/e-learning environment. MIT OCW provides a new model for the dissemination of knowledge and collaboration among scholars around the world, and contributes to the “shared intellectual commons” in academia, which fosters collaboration across MIT and among other scholars.
In September 2002, the MIT OCW proof-of-concept pilot site opened to the public, offering 32 courses. In September 2003, MIT OCW published its 500th course on the way to offering virtually all of MIT's courses by 2007. The response from MIT faculty and students has been very positive and MIT OpenCourseWare is seen as being consistent with MIT's mission (to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century) and is true to MIT's values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.
The main challenge in implementing this initiative has not been faculty resistance, but rather, the logistical challenges presented by determining ownership and obtaining publication permission for the massive amount of intellectual property items that are embedded in the course materials of MIT's faculty, along with the time and technical effort it has taken to convert the educational materials from 500 courses to an online format.
Copyright in OpenCourseWare material remains with MIT or members of its faculty.