FAQ: OCW Scholar

 

What are OCW Scholar courses?

Why did MIT OpenCourseWare create OCW Scholar courses?

How are they different from other courses on MIT OpenCourseWare?

How do OCW Scholar courses differ from distance learning courses?

Which courses will be presented in the OCW Scholar format? What are "foundational courses"?

How do I use OCW Scholar courses in conjunction with OpenStudy?

How long will it take to complete an OCW Scholar course?

Can I get a certificate or credit for completing OCW Scholar courses?

How many OCW scholar courses will MIT OpenCourseWare publish?

Does OCW Scholar replace the previous model of OCW publication?

Why aren't all OCW courses published in the OCW Scholar format?

How are OCW Scholar courses funded?

 

What are OCW Scholar courses?

OCW Scholar courses are designed specifically for OCW's single largest audience: independent learners. OCW Scholar courses are designed to be used by those with few additional resources available to them. The courses are substantially more complete than typical OCW courses and include new custom-created content as well as materials repurposed from previously published courses. The materials are arranged in logical sequences and often include multimedia such as video and simulations. OCW Scholar courses are an experiment, and we are actively seeking feedback on the effectiveness of these courses.

 

Why did MIT OpenCourseWare create OCW Scholar courses?

OCW Scholar courses represent one of a number of innovative initiatives we are working on as we enter our second decade. Through OCW Scholar, we hope to provide support specifically for independent learners. OCW was originally envisioned as a set of resources for educators worldwide to adapt for use in their own classrooms. Over time, we have received feedback from our independent learners suggesting ways the course materials might be reshaped to better facilitate independent learning. OCW Scholar is our first attempt at doing so.

 

How are they different from other courses on MIT OpenCourseWare?

OCW Scholar courses are still OpenCourseWare. They are openly licensed educational materials that do not provide any access to faculty, certification or credit. They differ from our other OCW courses in that the materials are substantially complete, limiting the need for textbooks or journal articles to facilitate learning. The materials are also structured with independent study in mind, with content arranged in logical units through which learners progress.

 

How do OCW Scholar courses differ from distance learning courses?

OCW Scholar courses are learning materials, but unlike distance learning courses, they do not provide access to an instructor or teaching assistant. Neither certification nor credit is available for OCW Scholar courses. They are simply materials structured to support independent study.

 

Which courses will be presented in the OCW Scholar format? What are "foundational courses"?

We’ve selected introductory courses in science, mathematics, technology and economics fields, because these are the courses we believe can have the greatest impact on independent learners. Our plans call for a total of 15 courses published over the next three years.

 

How do I use OCW Scholar courses in conjunction with OpenStudy?

Though no interaction with MIT faculty or students is provided with OCW Scholar courses, we are including these courses in our pilot with OpenStudy. Through OpenStudy, users of OCW Scholar courses will be able to interact with each other, working collaboratively on assignments and answering questions. In addition to OCW Scholar courses, some regular OCW courses have study groups. These are indicated in courses lists with a special icon.

 

How long will it take to complete an OCW Scholar course?

Because OCW Scholar courses are materials structured for independent study and not a formal course, you work through them at whatever pace suits you.

 

Can I get a certificate or credit for completing OCW Scholar courses?

No. As with other MIT OpenCourseWare courses, OCW Scholar courses are published as open educational resources, available at no cost, without access to MIT faculty, and without certification or credit.

 

How many OCW scholar courses will MIT OpenCourseWare publish?

Our current plans call for 15 total OCW Scholar courses in the next three years. We expect the next group of OCW Scholar courses to be published in February 2013. We have not yet finalized the selection of courses for future rounds of publication.

 

Does OCW Scholar replace the previous model of OCW publication?

No. We still continue to publish about 60 new courses and 110 updates of previously published courses each year.

 

Why aren't all OCW courses published in the OCW Scholar format?

OCW Scholar courses serve just one of MIT OpenCourseWare's many audiences, and we remain committed to serving all who can benefit from OCW. OCW Scholar courses are significantly more expensive and time-consuming to produce than our established model, limiting our capacity to create them.

 

How are OCW Scholar courses funded?

The production of OCW Scholar courses is funded by a grant from the Stanton Foundation. The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications. Hired by CBS in 1935 on the strength of his PhD dissertation in the nascent field of audience research, he became president of CBS at age 36. During his 25 years as president he turned an also-ran radio network into a broadcasting powerhouse.