Dean's Update

Krishna Rajagopal, Dean for Digital Learning, provides an update on OCW and what's next in the program's future.

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We now have more than 2,450 courses on the OCW site. More than 300 million learners from all around the world have visited OCW and used our resources, spending countless hours learning from the same course materials by which MIT students learn from MIT faculty on our campus. 

For MIT’s educators like me, who may only be able to teach a few thousand students in our careers, having their courses on OCW used by many thousands of learners every year is a wonderful and humbling experience.

And, there are myriad educators around the world out there, using our course materials, taking insights from educators here and then adding perspective and experience of their own, and using OCW in this way to help support and shape the education of THEIR students. These educators out there around the world are OCW’s multipliers.

Our goal is to make our content available wherever people are trying to learn. So you’ll find all of our videos on YouTube. We are delighted to be the number one dot edu YouTube channel, and are closing in on 2 million subscribers at this point.

Of course, OCW is much more than just videos, with our extensive courses notes, problem sets, projects, tests, syllabi, reading lists and so much more. A powerful side benefit of our successful YouTube channel then is that it has led millions of new learners to discover the extensive educational riches on the OCW website. 

We are also attracting learners who follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To date, more than 680,000 people actively hear about our content on these social media channels, and from there engage with MIT courses on OCW itself. We’re grateful to encourage that exploration and that interest.

So, what’s next? There is no other open educational resource that covers the breadth and depth of higher education the way OCW does.  We take great pride in the way that the MIT faculty have shared materials from such a substantial fraction of the courses that we teach at MIT, but at the same time we recognize that there are significant opportunities to improve OCW, to keep it a vibrant representation of the teaching and learning that happen at MIT today, and to make it even more accessible, to ensure that it positively impacts even more learners around the world in the coming decades.

The mission of OCW will not change. We will continue publishing materials from MIT courses, openly and freely, and promoting the broad and deep open educational resource that results, so that others can use these materials in their own ways, for themselves and for their students, helping to grow the community of creators and learners around the globe.

However, we are at a critical crossroads in being able to keep up with the technological demands of our learners and the pedagogical innovations from MIT’s faculty.

When OCW was created 18 years ago, nothing like it existed, and so we built the infrastructure from scratch. Now, fast forward to today, and we see the need to support a more dynamic user experience, enhance content discoverability and use, and make our website and content mobile responsive.  In all these ways we will be making opportunities to learn from OCW even more accessible.

Meanwhile, MIT’s innovative faculty members keep updating their pedagogical approaches, and their teaching materials. And, of course, we keep updating what we teach at the cutting edge of our disciplines. That means that here at OCW we’re committed to renewing our platform and our processes so that what you see on OCW remains a vibrant and current reflection of the MIT curriculum, in all its breadth and depth.

We’ll be working hard to achieve these goals because this is what we must do if we are to truly reach anyone, anywhere, who has the determination and will to improve their knowledge, to satisfy their curiosity for lifelong learning, to change the trajectory of their careers and, ultimately, to make the world a better place.