Bridging the digital divide

Students learning to use eTekkatho at Taungoo University

Duyen Nguyen | MIT Open Learning

Myanmar’s education landscape is changing, thanks in large part to the efforts of the  Tekkatho Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that uses digital technologies to bring world-class educational resources to local institutions and communities. Supported by a grant from the Omidyar Network, Tekkatho sets up free, self-contained digital libraries—eTekkatho—and other education infrastructure across the country, making access to materials like MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) possible even in places with little to no connectivity.

eTekkatho is able to include OCW content among its many resources through OCW’s Mirror Site Program, which delivers free copies of the OCW website to over 400 non-profit educational organizations working in under-resourced parts of the world, for installation on their local networks. Currently set up in 23 universities and six community libraries across the country, eTekkatho’s impact on learners in Myanmar has been remarkable. Over 10,000 people—from students to educators—have attended an eTekkatho training course, where they learn how to access, browse, and download educational and research materials. With thousands of resources now at their fingertips, students grow confident in taking the initiative in their education, becoming proficient in self-study and independent learning. As of 2017, over 100,000 individual ebooks, video lessons, datasets, lectures, and other educational content have been downloaded from eTekkatho library.

OCW is one of the most popular resources that eTekkatho provides. At Phaung Daw Oo, a monastery school in Mandalay that offers free education to over 7,000 children, students like Kyaw Win Khant turn to the eTekkatho digital library to research their assignments, develop their IT skills, and prepare for college and work. “Of course I use eTekkatho! It’s really useful for my studies,” says Kyaw, who was motivated to study chemistry after finding resources on the subject through the digital library. Through watching OCW lectures, Kyaw says he also improved…

>Read the complete story on OCW

The Commons rejoices: 375,000 new images from the Met

Photo of ceramic statue of a person, smilling with arms upraised.

This Smiling Figure from the Remojadas region of Veracruz is a hollow ceramic sculpture representing an individual celebrating with music and dance. (License CC 0, from the Metropolitan Museum.)

It’s a great day for art and the Commons!

Today, the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled a new Open Access policy for 375,000 images from their permanent collection – spanning 5,000 years of history, from antiquities to photography, and including images otherwise unavailable to view within the museum itself. These images (and their metadata) are provided under the public domain Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.

Begin to explore the bounty by visiting their Collection page, and selecting the “Public Domain Artworks” filter in the left-hand column.

Learn more about the program, including their partnerships with Artstor, Wikimedia Foundation, Digital Public Library of America, ITHAKA, and Creative Commons, in this Facebook Live video of the announcement.

We look forward to these great artworks enlivening our course home pages, social media posts, and within our course materials. From all of us at MIT OpenCourseWare, and on behalf of our millions of learners around the globe, thank you Met and all those who made this gift possible.

A faculty perspective on OCW and MOOCs

Portrait photo of Prof. Miyagawa.

Shigeru Miyagawa, Professor of Linguistics & Kochi-Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language and Culture, and recent chair, MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Committee.

Professor Shigueru Miyagawa is one of OCW’s most prolific participants, and a long-standing member and recent chair of the OCW Faculty Advisory Committee. As he’s told us:

“To be able to offer teaching materials through OCW is one of the best things that can happen to you as a teacher. It’s like hitting the lottery to touch so many people through your teaching. It’s also good because it keeps you on your feet, knowing that tens of thousands people might be watching.”

In a recent interview with Compass Higher Education Consulting for a forthcoming book on educational leadership, Prof. Miyagawa was asked about the future of OCW. He goes straight to the relationship between OCW and MOOCs, specifically their different conceptions of “open”:

“OCW started this idea that online education can be wide open and free. And the most recent trends are these MOOCs. I think what we are going to find is some integration between the two.

MOOCs are different from OCW in that they are a fully integrated course from beginning to end, with assessment. And they are time limited in the sense that they are available when they are offered, just like a regular course.

OCW is in some ways the exact opposite. It is wide open. It’s available anytime. And you study at your own pace. I think what we’ll find is that OCW will begin to take on some of the MOOC features like putting some assessments on the self-learning content, so that learners can check their understanding. That will be a great service.

MOOCs will be impacted by OCW, in that MOOCs right now despite this “open” in the name MOOC, massive open online course, they’re not really open. The “open” in MOOC only refers to open access during the time that it’s being offered. The “open” in OCW is a much more of a dynamic concept—it’s wide open and you can download it and you can access it anytime. MOOCs will have to take on some of the dynamic openness of OCW, if it’s going to have the impact that it should have.

We have to start clearing copyright for materials on MOOCs. Right now MOOCs are for the most part closed in that way, you see all rights reserved, which means copyright has not been cleared. So learners basically are passive learners—they look at the video, they read the teaching materials, and so forth, but they cannot download and create their own.

And yet, we know that best learning happens when you are able to actively interact with the teaching materials.

That’s what I hope will happen, I’m pushing for it.”

Public Domain Jam! (Creative Commons blog)

The Wizard of Oz; Moby Dick; Alice in Wonderland. These characters (and many, many others) are in the public domain, and are free to be remixed and remade… into videogames. Creative Commons blogged about the Public Domain Jam, a cool videogame design contest with a $1000 prize for the best game released into the public domain:

If you’re a videogame designer and you have nothing to do over the next week (or if making cool games is more fun than your day job), why not spend the week developing a public domain game?

The idea of The Public Domain Jam is to encourage developers to create games based on public domain assets and stories, and optionally give the games themselves back to the public domain via the CC0 waiver. The game trailer encourages designers to think about the amazing wealth of public domain source material. Read more


The contest ends on Saturday, so hurry! And don’t forget to check out our list of game-related courses on OCW.

OCW is always open, here when you need it most.

OCW launches our Spring Fundraising Campaign today.  Here’s why you should support it.

Dear Friend of OCW,

OCW is always open. Here when you need it most. Please support OCW.OCW is Always Open

Whether you are refreshing your memory on quantum mechanics or you finally have the time to immerse yourself in learning a new language (like German or computer programming) – OCW always has these resources available to you. We’re serving up quality open learning from a menu of 2,200 courses, available day or night, 365 days a year.

But we need your help to continue to serve as a key resource when you need it most.

Your Support Makes a Difference

Continually improving MIT OpenCourseWare offerings, expanding access, and creating innovations like OCW Educator is part of our plan to provide motivated people everywhere the tools to improve their lives and change the world.

With your support in the past, we’ve demonstrated not only that OCW is a unique resource, but that it can be a sustainable one.  MIT continues to pay for half of OCW’s $4 million annual budget directly, but we rely on sponsors and users like you for the rest.

As we approach the end of our fiscal year, we need your help to keep OCW fully funded for today and for the future. If you can afford to contribute to OCW, then please donate today and help us ensure that OCW continues to be here whenever you need us.


Cecilia d’Oliveira
Executive Director
MIT OpenCourseWare

p.s. Make your donation can count event more with a matching gift from your company. To find out whether your company has a matching gift policy, please enter your employer’s name in the MIT matching gifts page.

Open Access Textbooks: Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Free online textbooks are among the most popular and highest impact open educational resources. (The overwhelming response to this list of OCW’s online textbooks has made that clear to us!)  The recently announced Knowledge Unlatched initiative brings some new participants into the fold through a novel collaborative business model.

Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Knowledge Unlatched hoped to recruit 200 libraries in time to unveil a pilot collection of open-access books at the end of February, but about 300 libraries signed up.

By Jennifer Howard | April 1, 2014

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money to pay publishers a title fee for each of those books. The title fees are meant to cover the cost of publishing each book; publishers calculate what they think is fair and share those estimates with the Knowledge Unlatched group.

In return for the title fees, the publishers make Creative Commons-licensed, DRM-free PDFs of the selected books available for free download through the OAPEN digital platform (OAPEN stands for Open Access Publishing in European Networks), the HathiTrust digital repository, and eventually the British Library.

Authors and publishers decide which Creative Commons license they’re comfortable using. There’s no postpublication embargo period; the books will be available as soon as the publishers and Knowledge Unlatched can process and upload the PDFs. (Click here for a full list of the books selected for the pilot and whether they’ve been published and uploaded yet.)

Read more

Innovation, Access, and Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER

Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, is the best in the business at making the policy case for Open Educational Resources. Here he is in action (via OLDaily and Jason Rhode):

Innovation, Access, and Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER

February 6, 2014 By Jason Rhode @jrhode

UPCEA has made freely available the recording of Cable Green’s general session presentation titled, “Innovation, Access, and Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER” at the recent Summit for Online Leadership and Strategy. While the slides are available here, the recording is now available here.

General Session Presentation by Cable Green

To view the rest of the Summit For Online Leadership and Strategy‘s program you can purchase the Online Pass.

– See more at: