Director Letter

Dear Friend of OCW,

With a rapidly growing digital learning environment, it may be challenging to find educational materials that meet your learning needs. At OCW, you can access more than 2,200 high-quality MIT courses that both inform and inspire your curiosity, exploration, and study. As we enter our 13th year, we are as committed as ever to continuously enhance and improve our publication, with new courses and features, and to remain at the forefront of the open education movement.

Curating our content

rel_content.pngIn the last year, we invested significant effort to curate our content to better highlight materials from the thousands of courses available on OCW. In addition to new collections and cross-disciplinary topic lists (energy, entrepreneurship, intro to programming, and online textbooks), we now provide contextual information on every course so that you can identify courses on related topics. To find this information, just visit any course homepage and click on the Related Content tab.

We also provide background and critical context to understand the current events that affect our world. Our blog lists of courses for events like Earth Day, phenomena such as climate change and sustainability, as well as recommended courses for students enrolled in programs like the Sloan MBA, or MITx on edX

Making our materials more accessible

Courses with video lectures continue to be in high demand by our users. We are committed to making this content accessible through subtitles and transcripts. This has been a time consuming process in the past, but this year, in collaboration with our vendor 3Play Media, we implemented a new, more efficient process that will enable us to provide subtitles on new video lectures shortly after they are published. As resources permit, we will also add subtitles to the backlog of video courses that do not currently have them. Of the 91 full video lecture series on OCW, 40 now have complete subtitles and transcripts.

Enhancing classroom teaching

ocw_educator.png

As MOOCs and other online courses continue to proliferate, our new OCW Educator initiative supports a developing role for OCW: using the internet to inspire and enhance traditional classroom teaching, both at MIT and around the world. We created OCW Educator to share the educational ideas, practices, and pedagogical expertise of the MIT faculty and to enhance users’ ability to take best advantage of course materials on OCW by helping them understand the context and manner in which the materials are used here on campus.

The most visible aspect of OCW Educator on the OCW web site is This Course at MIT, a new page in OCW courses that provides information about how the course was taught at MIT including outcomes, prerequisites and other curriculum information, student information, assessment, and how student time was spent. To date, OCW has published 45 This Course at MIT pages, with another 20 in the pipeline. In coming years we expect to use OCW Educator to document and explain some of the technology-enabled innovations and transformations in on-campus courses as well as experiential and project-based courses at MIT.

Supporting and sustaining free education

Lastly, OCW continues to be significantly involved in supporting MITx, MIT’s bold new online learning initiative. Through MITx, MIT is expanding its commitment to the open education movement by providing free, scalable, MIT- quality online courses, with certificates, to learners worldwide. At the same time, MITx is also supporting MIT’s exploration of new digital learning tools and new teaching practices in MIT residential education.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, MITx:

  • Launched 27 MITx MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on the edX platform
  • Enrolled a total of 773,394 students in MIT MOOCs from more than 190 countries
  • Awarded 29,601 MITx certificates to students who successfully completed MITx MOOCs
  • Supported the use of digital learning technology to improve teaching and learning across the MIT campus.
    As of the end of the spring semester 65% of current MIT students had taken at least one on-campus class with an MITx Residential component.

In the future, we plan to send you more information about MITx courses and offer you opportunities to receive more news and updates on this exciting program.

These are just some improvements and initiatives as we continue to publish MIT course materials, increase the use of OCW for teaching and learning, maximize the benefits of OCW for the MIT community, support worldwide Open Educational Resources (OER), and sustain the OCW program.

We are grateful for the funding we receive from MIT and foundations and institutions that provide significant support for our work. Donations from individuals like you have become increasingly important and your support is vital to keeping MIT OpenCourseWare growing and vibrant, and demonstrates to our other funders the value you place on OCW.

We hope you’ll participate in helping to keep OCW going and growing:

We will be launching our Fall fundraising drive next month. Please consider a donation to OCW. We would appreciate it!

Sincerely,
Cecilia d'Oliveira
Executive Director
MIT OpenCourseWare