Join us for Open Education Week

Graphic promoting Open Education Week 2015.

With local events, webinars and other online gatherings, videos, and a wealth of openly-licensed good cheer, the 300+ global members of the Open Education Consortium are celebrating Open Education Week 2015.  It starts today, March 9, and runs until March 13. Check out their website for details.

MIT OpenCourseWare is participating in a 24-hour “tweet-athon” called #AllAboutOpen. This event, organized by Kaplan University, begins at 8:00 AM EDT on Wednesday March 11. You can interact with us and all the other participants by tweeting questions, comments, and tips for success with open educational resources. MIT OpenCourseWare will be specifically featured from 8:00 PM to 8:30 PM EDT on Wednesday March 11, discussing how our OCW Educator initiative takes you behind the teaching scenes with MIT faculty.

World’s biggest pan-India OER use survey goes live

If you’re based in India, or have any connections with India, please consider completing this new survey on open educational resources usage. Researcher Leigh-Anne Perryman writes in her blog:

World’s biggest pan-India OER use survey goes live in Hindi and English

Today sees the launch of the biggest ever survey of open educational resources (OER) use in India – developed by The Open University (UK) academics Leigh-Anne Perryman and Tim Seal in connection with the OER Research Hub.  The survey is dual language (English and Hindi) …

If you’re based in India, or have any connections with India, please share your own experiences by completing the most relevant of the following surveys:

Survey for teachers/educators

Survey for students

Survey for people who use OER but are not teachers or students

Boston Children’s Hospital project OPENPediatrics launches new OER resource

As a complement to OCW’s many courses about health and medicine, we’re pleased to share news of a new Open Educational Resource (OER) geared to pediatric clinicians.

Boston Children’s Hospital project OPENPediatrics launches new OER resource

OPENPediatrics (OP), a free online education and best practice-sharing community for pediatric clinicians worldwide, has launched a new library of openly licensed medical animations and illustrations, making them available for non-commercial educational use. The new Multimedia Library draws on the extensive collection of animations and illustrations developed for didactic and procedural videos created for the OP clinician community site. Previously, these resources were only available embedded within OP videos and simulators, but are now presented in a searchable library that includes downloadable versions of each resource.

“Our mission is to improve the health of children worldwide through innovative uses of educational technology,” commented program director Dr. Jeffrey Burns, Chief of Critical Care at Boston Children’s Hospital. “By using the web to distribute animations and illustrations we’ve created for our clinician videos and simulations, we are making them available to an even wider audience and in a format allowing for a wide range of novel uses.”

Animation of defibrillation from the OPENPediatrics Multimedia Library.

The initial 48 animations and illustrations are among the hundreds that will eventually be made available. The first set of resources illustrates key concepts of airway management, respiratory care, neurology, clinical procedures and other areas of pediatric care. As with all OPENPediatrics resources, the animations and illustrations have been peer reviewed for accuracy. All resources in the collection are made available under a Creative Commons license that permits users to download, modify and redistribute the images for non-commercial purposes.

In the coming months, OPENPediatrics will continue publishing animations and illustrations from its back catalog as well as from newly released videos and other resources. The multimedia library is the second publicly available resource from OPENPediatrics, joining a collection of World Shared Practice Forum videos, which share global perspectives on key aspects of pediatric care. OPENPediatrics recently joined the Open Education Consortium, the worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing open education and its impact on global education.

MIT takes new approach with STEM Concept Videos (MIT News)

Illustrated icons of graphs, neurons, and molecules.

These icons represent the themes covered in the STEM Concept Videos, such as problem solving, representations, and derivatives and integrals.

MIT takes new approach with STEM concept videos
Real-life examples are relevant to MIT students and students around the world.
Lori Breslow | Teaching and Learning Laboratory

MIT’s Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL) has created 47 STEM Concept Videos to help students connect the concepts they learn in introductory STEM courses to concrete, real-world problems. Students can watch the videos to prepare for class or review a concept for an exam. Instructors can use them to supplement classroom instruction, using snippets or the entire video, most of which are under 15 minutes.  Throughout the videos, viewers are prompted to pause to actively engage with the material — to predict the result of demonstrations, engage in a discussion of concepts, or perform activities tied to the video’s intended learning outcomes.

Some examples of questions that the videos pose include:

  • Why is the concept of divergence useful to researchers designing helmets to protect soldiers from the shockwaves of explosions?
  • What is the connection between martial arts and torque?
  • How can the concept of latent heat be used to design more energy-efficient buildings?

Read the full MIT News article, and check out these videos in MIT OpenCourseWare. Each video is accompanied by a handy Instructor Guide and links to related OCW courses that further illustrate or apply each concept.

Demystifying the MOOC (New York Times)

Graph of the hype cycle.

The “Hype Cycle” is a representation, developed by Gartner Inc., of how technologies mature toward widespread social adoption. (Image by Wikipedia User: Jeffrey Kemp. License CC BY-SA.)

Jeffrey Selingo, a contributing editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education, has written extensively about online education and the emergence of MOOCs. In a New York Times essay adapted from his new book MOOC U: Who Is Getting the Most Out of Online Education and Why, he argues that low completion rates seen in most MOOCs should not necessarily be taken as a sign of failure.

But those metrics don’t take into account how MOOCs are being used right now. Students can register, with no financial risk, for as many courses as they want. Some might want to sample a particular lecture, or prepare a business plan for investors, or take a lesson for a presentation the next day.

Call it “just-in-time education.” These students hadn’t planned to complete the course, and they have nothing to lose when they stop taking it. The MOOC provides learning in chunks, at a student’s own pace. Read more…

This adjustment can be viewed as the next along the “hype cycle.” Self-paced just-in-time learning might confound some of the disruptive expectations laid upon MOOCs. But for many people, this way of learning seems to mesh quite well with the reality of their lives. It’s been a foundation of OpenCourseWare use for many years. And it could be forcing MOOCs up the “slope of enlightenment,” on their way to the “plateau of productivity.”


Get your MOOC prerequisites here

Screenshot of a MOOC website prerequisite statement: "Classical mechanics and chemistry at the 1st year university level; differential equations."The MOOC you’re taking suggests some college-level prerequisites? Have no fear.

Maybe you took the required math and science courses in college, but that was longer ago than you’d care to admit…and the details have gotten hazy. And maybe some parts didn’t fully sink in the first time around.

You just need a trustworthy resource for review, whether it’s a quick reminder on a few points, or a complete run-through.

You need this content right now, on demand, and built for self-paced learning.

You need MIT OpenCourseWare.

We’ve got videos, course notes, problems with solutions…everything you need to shake out those cobwebs, jog your memory, fill in the gaps. And if your MOOC inspires you to keep learning, look to OCW for more free learning materials, always available, on thousands of topics.

For upcoming and current MITx courses running in edX, OCW curates a list of related OCW content. But no matter who’s behind your MOOC, OCW can support you on your learning journey.

Here’s a selection of OCW resources most likely to help with MOOC prerequisites.





Computer Programming

Seeking a subject not on this list?  Browse by topic and subtopic through OCW’s nearly 2,300 courses, or drill down with a keyword search.

Promoting open education around the world (

Photo of Barack Obama speaking at a meeting.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a meeting on the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations in New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“Because we know that education is a cornerstone for progress…we’re going to do more to help citizens in other countries, especially students, access the incredible online educational tools and resources we have in the States.”
– President Obama, September 24, 2014

During his remarks last week at a meeting of the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations, President Barack Obama reaffirmed the U.S. Government’s commitment to open education. Several new initiatives were detailed in a blog post by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy:

The United States is committed to:

Raise open education awareness and identify new partnerships. The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy will jointly host a workshop on challenges and opportunities in open education internationally with stakeholders from academia, industry, and government.

Pilot new models for using open educational resources to support learning.  The State Department will conduct three pilots overseas by December 2015 that use open educational resources (OER) to support learning in formal and informal learning contexts. The pilots’ results, including best practices, will be made publicly available for interested educators.

Launch an online skills academy. The Department of Labor (DOL), with cooperation from the Department of Education, will award $25 million through competitive grants to launch an online skills academy in 2015 that will offer open online courses of study, using technology to create high-quality, free, or low-cost pathways to degrees, certificates, and other employer-recognized credentials.

The posting concludes with a ringing affirmation of the benefits of OERs:

OER can be a powerful tool for the State Department because it advances several of its core objectives. Because OER is free and openly accessible, it plays an important role in increasing access to high-quality educational content around the world, particularly for underserved and disadvantaged communities.  It also helps ensure that women and girls have access to educational resources.  More education correlates to greater social equality.

Open education resources can also improve the quality of teaching and learning here in the United States by fostering experimentation that can accelerate student comprehension and support more affordable educational experiences. A study of the Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative statistics course demonstrated accelerated learning, with participating students mastering required course material in half the time of a traditional course. Likewise, a recent study by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition calculates that open educational resources have already saved post-secondary students $100 million in out of pocket costs over the last few years.

We join the President and leaders, learners, and teachers around the world in celebrating these efforts.

Read the complete blog post here.