CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 29, 2010 - The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced today MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) has been named as a recipient of the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE). MIT OpenCourseWare is Massachusetts Institute of Technology's groundbreaking effort to share the core academic content—including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and exams—from the entire MIT undergraduate and graduate curriculum. The site currently includes materials from more than 2,000 MIT courses and has received more than 68 million visits since OCW's launch in 2002.
The Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) was designed to promote exceptional online materials that are available free of charge to science educators. The acronym SPORE refers to a reproductive element adapted to develop, often in less than ideal conditions, into something new. The winning projects are intended to be the seed of progress in education, even in the face of formidable challenges to educational innovation. Science publishes an article about each winning project by the project's developer. The article about the OCW site, which is called "MIT OpenCourseWare: Unlocking Knowledge, Empowering Minds," will be published in the July 30 issue of Science.
"We're trying to advance science education," says Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of Science. "This competition will provide much-needed recognition for innovators in the field whose efforts promise significant benefits for students and for science literacy in general. The publication in Science of an article on each Web site will help guide educators around the globe to valuable free resources that might otherwise be missed."
In responding to the announcement, OCW Executive Director Cecilia d'Oliveira said, "This is a wonderful recognition of the thousands of voluntary contributions of materials from MIT community members that make MIT OpenCourseWare possible. These contributions are a dramatic demonstration of MIT's widely held commitment to knowledge as a public good."
OCW materials are used by faculty, students and independent learners worldwide for a wide variety of purposes. Educators use the materials to improve courses and curricula at their schools; students supplement materials provided for their courses with the content from MIT; and independent learners study for pleasure or in the context of their professional activities.
In the past ten years, OCW has collected hundreds of user stories illustrating the impact of the resource. One such example is Indian educator Prabhakar Krishnamurthy, who describes how OCW's Applied Operations Research and Quantitative Techniques course has influenced how he teaches his own course. "After three years of use in the classroom now I can say it is a 'window to the world of best learning practices.' Personally I myself benefited from the information and it led to significant changes in the way I co-learn with my students."
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.
An OpenCourseWare is a free and open digital publication of high quality university-level educational materials – often including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, and exams – organized as courses. While OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiatives typically do not provide a degree, credit, or certification, or access to instructors, the materials are made available under open licenses for use and adaptation by educators and learners around the world.
MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of substantially all of MIT's undergraduate and graduate courses – more than 2,000 in all – available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 1.5 million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 65 million visitors have accessed the free MIT educational materials on the site or in translation.