In the spring of 2001, the world greeted MIT OpenCourseWare as a brave experiment. The brainchild of MIT faculty members, OCW drew on a tradition of open sharing at MIT that stretched back at least to the 1950s. But no previous project could match OCW for scope, ambition or elegance. It was a bold new strategy for sharing knowledge and increasing opportunity—but no one knew how well it would work.
Today, OCW is a flourishing MIT institution and a global model for open sharing in higher education. This Institute-wide undertaking has touched more than 300 million people in every country on Earth—all thanks to the dedication and generosity of our faculty, who voluntarily contribute their teaching materials for publication on OCW. We know from our research and from many thousands of user emails that OCW is improving education and bringing new opportunities to people everywhere, sometimes changing lives in profound ways.
MIT’s mission statement charges us to advance knowledge and educate students, and to bring knowledge to bear on the world's great challenges for the betterment of humankind. Open sharing of knowledge is the purest manifestation of this mission.
Even as we develop open sharing projects such as the MITx/edX initiative, we continue our commitment to OCW, and we expect its impact to keep growing, even in ways we have not yet imagined.
OCW is here for you. We hope you will use it to pursue your interests, improve your life and make the world a better place for us all.
L. Rafael Reif