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

Webinar on OCW recent highlights and future direction

Headshot photo of Curt Newton.Please join OCW Director Curt Newton on a free webinar, Monday March 4, 12:30-1:30 ET, for a tour through some recent highlights on MIT OpenCourseWare, and thoughts on its bright future.

Register here.

This webinar is presented by the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL). A program of MIT Open Learning, J-WEL at MIT seeks to promote excellence and transformation in education globally. As an incubator for change in education at MIT and around the world, J-WEL provides a platform that engages educators, technologists, policymakers, and societal leaders in addressing global opportunities for education through online and in-person collaborations, workshops, and information sharing events.

The webinar is a contribution to Open Education Week, a global event to raise awareness of free and open sharing in education and the benefits they bring to teachers and learners. Coordinated by the Open Education Consortium, Open Education Week showcases projects, resources, and ideas from around the world that demonstrate open education in practice.

 

 

 

In the Spirit of Open

Logo graphic for Open Education Week 2016.By Sarah Hansen, OCW Educator Project Manager

OCW is participating in Open Education Week 2016 (March 7-11)!  We’re sharing a video to introduce you (and your teaching colleagues around the world) to our new OCW Educator portal, which allows users to now search OCW content by instructional approach and teaching materials.

 

Use the portal to find new examples, explanations, and simulations to make concepts in your classroom come to life. Enrich your students’ experiences with OCW images, lecture slides, and video. All of these resources come straight from the classrooms of MIT’s leading researchers and teachers. Because OCW is Creative Commons licensed, these materials are made for sharing. Download files for later. Share with students. Modify, remix, and reuse in your teaching.

Through Instructor Insights pages, MIT faculty share their thinking, methods, and tips about the art and science of teaching with the global educator community. Use the portal to discover new ways to motivate your students with active learning. Get students more deeply engaged in problem solving. Help your students learn to work in teams. Weave communication skills into STEM subjects. Refresh your approach to large-class lectures.

Explore

Explore a few of our latest OCW Educator videos:

Share

Help us share this resource. Tell a teacher about OCW Educator. Share resources you find on OCW with students and colleagues. Let’s keep open going!

MIT announces new learning research initiatives

Photo of student in a library working on papers and her laptop.MIT’s committed efforts to understand learning and improve it at all levels of education took a big step forward yesterday. As reported by MIT News:

MIT President L. Rafael Reif announced today a significant expansion of the Institute’s programs in learning research and online and digital education — from pre-kindergarten through residential higher education and lifelong learning — that fulfills a number of recommendations made in 2014 by the Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education.

Most notably, Reif announced the creation of the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), to be led by Professor John Gabrieli, and a new effort to increase MIT’s ability to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning by students from pre-kindergarten through high school (pK-12), to be led by Professor Angela Belcher. The announcement also included a program to support faculty innovations in MIT residential education and new work to enhance MIT’s continuing education programs. Read more >

What does this mean for OCW and other MIT open educational resources? We look forward to providing better opportunities for learners, and sharing MIT’s latest teaching methods through initiatives like OCW Educator. The accompanying FAQ: Reshaping MIT’s programs in online and digital education states that

Research out of MITili will inform MIT’s digital learning and open education efforts, such as MIT OpenCourseWare, MITx, and the new MicroMaster’s program, and seeks to further improve these online learning platforms by applying latest developments in learning scholarship and educational technology. Read more >

Exciting times!

As an OpenMatters blog post wouldn’t be complete without some related OCW content, we heartily recommend MITili founding director John Gabrieli’s popular 9.00SC Introduction to Psychology. This OCW Scholar course takes you on an engaging scientific journey through human nature, including “how the mind works and how the brain supports the mind.”

#AllAboutOpen: Our OCW Educator Twitter Chat

As part of Open Education Week, Open College at Kaplan University (OC@KU) and the Open Education Consortium (OEC) hosted a 24-hour Twitter event, #AllAboutOpen. We participated in the lively discussion last night for half an hour, talking about the OCW Educator initiative. If you missed the chat (or prefer the blog to Twitter), here’s a recap:

Learn, Cure, Fuel, Make: MIT launches “Solve” (MIT News)

Graphic of four colored squares with the words Learn, Cure, Fuel, Make.

The four pilliars of Solve. (Source: MIT Solve website.)

MIT launches “Solve” to galvanize action on solving the world’s great challenges
Leaders to gather for keystone event at MIT next October
Technology Review | December 12, 2014

MIT will convene technologists, philanthropists, business leaders, policymakers, and social-change agents Oct. 5-8, 2015, for the launch of “Solve,” an initiative to galvanize these leaders to drive progress on complex, important global challenges that MIT has singled out as urgent and ripe for progress. Curated by distinguished members of the MIT community, this highly collaborative event will take place at Kresge Auditorium and at various labs, classrooms, and facilities across the MIT campus.

Solve will organize challenges into four content pillars, identified by MIT as strategic targets for interdisciplinary research, problem solving, and collaboration:

  • Learn, curated by Anant Agarwal, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and CEO of edX, will focus on access to education, and digital and distance learning.
  • Cure, curated by Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor at MIT and an affiliate of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, will examine the affordability of care, and advanced diagnostics and therapies.
  • Fuel, curated by Angela Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT, will focus on environmental sustainability, food and water security, and renewable energy.
  • Make, curated by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and founder, chairman, and chief technology officer of Rethink Robotics, will delve into manufacturing, global infrastructure, and the future of work.

The curators will assemble challenge teams to address specific global issues in the developing and developed worlds, with short- and long-term goals for tackling pressing issues where serious progress is possible…

Read the full article.

We certainly agree that learning is one key to solving the world’s most pressing problems, and look forward to this initiative.

Why do OpenCourseWare? Why do MITx?

As the former Chair of MIT OpenCourseWare’s Faculty Advisory Committee, Prof. Shigeru Miyagawa has been asked many many times “why does MIT do OpenCourseWare?” He spoke about his answer to this question last month at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL).

 

Prof. Miyagawa’s answer goes back to a quote from former MIT president Chuck Vest:
“If you share money, it disappears, but if you share knowledge, it increases.”