OpenFiction [Blog]

Just what I need

Posted in media, MIT OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on January 30, 2013

Given my ability to keep up on this blog, and the demands of the Mechanical MOOC blog (http://mechanicalmooc.wordpress.com), about the last thing I need is to be responsible for the care and feeding of yet another. But despite my personal misgivings, we are launching an official MIT OpenCourseWare blog, Open Matters, at http://mitopencourseware.wordpress.com.

To be honest, we’ve needed it for some time, but weren’t sure we had the capacity to keep it stocked with good content; at this point, though, there is just so much going on in open ed that we need a more flexible way of getting news out. So, if you follow me here, please follow me there. For the time being there will likely be duplication here and there, but eventually the two paths will diverge in a yellow wood.

Principles of Microeconomics now available in MIT OpenCourseWare’s innovative OCW Scholar format

Posted in media, MIT OpenCourseWare, open education, Open Educational Resources, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on February 22, 2012

14.01SC is the third of seven courses OCW will publish this spring specifically to meet the needs of independent learners.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, February 22, 2012 — MIT OpenCourseWare has released a new version of Principles of Microeconomics in the innovative OCW Scholar format designed for independent learners. Created under the direction of Professor Jonathan Gruber, 14.01SC Principles of Microeconomics uses conceptual, mathematical, and graphical approaches to microeconomic principles presented through lecture videos, recitation materials and interactive concept quizzes. Microeconomics addresses topics including supply and demand, utility, and pricing.

Professor Gruber has taught at MIT since 1992. In 1997 and 1998, Dr. Gruber served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. He was a key architect of Massachusetts’ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. During the 2008 election cycle, he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama Presidential campaigns and was called by the Washington Post, “possibly the [Democratic] party’s most influential health-care expert.”

“The fundamentals of microeconomics are critical to understanding many of today’s most pressing issues,” said Professor Gruber.  “I hope this resource will allow many thousands of independent learners to understand economic forces more clearly.”

OCW Scholar courses represent a new approach to OCW publication. MIT faculty, staff and students work closely with the OCW team to structure the course materials for independent learners. These courses offer more materials than typical OCW courses and include new custom-created content. To supplement the traditional text that is used in the MIT class, 14.01SC is also the first OCW Scholar course to be published is association with an openly available textbook, Principles of Microeconomics by Libby Rittenberg, and Timothy Tregarthen, published by Flat World Knowledge.

The first five of a planned twenty OCW Scholar courses were launched by MIT OpenCourseWare in January 2011, and have collectively received more than 800,000 visits in less than a year.  The initial OCW Scholar courses included Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Solid State Chemistry, Single Variable Calculus, and Multivariable Calculus.

Linear Algebra and Differential Equations were published earlier this year, and Principles of Microeconomics is the third of seven OCW Scholar courses that will be published in 2012. Other upcoming OCW Scholar courses include Introduction to Psychology, Fundamentals of Biology, Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science I, and Introduction to Computer Science and Programming. OCW Scholar courses are published on the OCW site with the support of the Stanton Foundation.

About MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in teaching most of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,100 in all—available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 1.75 million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 125 million individuals have accessed OCW materials.  MIT OpenCourseWare is supported by donations from site visitors, grants and corporate sponsorship, including underwriting from our Next Decade Alliance sponsors Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin and MathWorks.

About the Jonathan Gurber

Dr. Jonathan Gruber is a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  He is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health Economics.

Dr. Gruber received his B.S. in Economics from MIT, and his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard.  He has received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, a FIRST award from the National Institute on Aging, and the Kenneth Arrow Award for the Best Paper in Health Economics in 1994. He was also one of 15 scientists nationwide to receive the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from the National Science Foundation in 1995. Dr. Gruber was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2005, and in 2006 he received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under. Dr. Gruber’s research focuses on the areas of public finance and health economics. He has published more than 125 research articles, has edited six research volumes, and is the author of Public Finance and Public Policy, a leading undergraduate text.

During the 1997–1998 academic year, Dr. Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. He was a key architect of Massachusetts’ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort.  In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by the magazine Modern Healthcare.  During the 2008 election cycle, he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama Presidential campaigns and was called by the Washington Post, “possibly the [Democratic] party’s most influential health-care expert.”

About the Stanton Foundation

The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications. During his 25 years as president of CBS, he turned a lesser-known radio network into a broadcasting powerhouse. Stanton made many historic contributions to the industry and to the society it served. In 1960, he initiated the first televised presidential debates—the famous Nixon-Kennedy “Great Debates”—which required a special Act of Congress before they could proceed.  He also spearheaded the creation of the first coast-to-coast broadcasting system, allowing CBS to become the first network to present a news event live across the continental United States, a speech by President Truman at the opening of the Japanese Peace Conference in San Francisco. Frank Stanton was the commencement speaker at MIT in 1961.

Contact:

Stephen Carson

External Relations Director

MIT OpenCourseWare

617-253-1250

scarson@mit.edu

http://ocw.mit.edu

 

 

MIT OpenCourseWare video retrospective

Posted in media, MIT OpenCourseWare, open education, Open Educational Resources, OpenCourseWare, Video by scarsonmsm on February 22, 2012

Gathering resources for the upcoming Open Education Week (March 5-10) and through this was a pretty good list of video highlights from MIT OpenCourseWare’s first decade.

MIT’s Institutional Decision to do OpenCourseWare
May 2001

Celebrating a Decade of MIT OpenCourseWare
Apr 2011

WISE Awards 2010 laureate Cecilia d’Oliveira for MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW)
Feb 2011

Advancing the OpenCourseWare Movement: Challenges and Achievements
January 2011

Bill Gates on MIT OpenCourseWare
April 2010

Walter Lewin Highlights
December 2007

MIT OpenCourseWare Milestone Celebration Video
November 2007

MIT Milestone Celebration | Keynote Address, Thomas Friedman
November 2007

MIT OpenCourseWare Press Conference
Apr 4, 2001

I was feeling like a megatrend today…

Posted in media, MIT OpenCourseWare, open education, Open Educational Resources, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on February 2, 2012

from “New Media Consortium Names 10 Top ‘Metatrends’ Shaping Educational Technology By Nick DeSantis:

5. Openness — concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information — is moving from a trend to a value for much of the world. As authoritative sources lose their importance, there is need for more curation and other forms of validation to generate meaning in information and media.

MIT OpenCourseWare publishes Linear Algebra in innovative OCW Scholar format

Posted in media, MIT OpenCourseWare, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on January 24, 2012

One of OCW’s most popular courses, Linear Algebra, is now available in a version designed to support independent learning.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, January 24, 2012 — MIT’s OpenCourseWare has released a new version of Linear Algebra, one of its most visited courses, in the innovative OCW Scholar format designed for independent learners. Taught by Professor Gilbert Strang, 18.06SC Linear Algebra addresses systems of linear equations and the properties of matrices. The concepts of linear algebra are used to solve problems in physics, economics, engineering, and other disciplines.  18.06SC is the first of seven OCW Scholar courses planned for release by the end of February.

Linear Algebra was one of the original 50 courses published on the MIT OpenCourseWare  proof-of-concept site launched in 2002. Over the past ten years this course has received a total of 3.1 million visits from educators and learners around the world. Professor Strang, who is one of the most widely known mathematicians in the world, hopes that the new, robust version—with its problem solving videos—will help students everywhere.

“I’m very proud of this new version of 18.06,” said Professor Strang.  “OCW has reached out to millions of educators and learners around the globe.  With this new approach, even more people can see the beauty and usefulness of Linear Algebra.”  In September, Strang was named the first MathWorks Professor of Mathematics, assuming a professorship recently endowed by MathWorks, the maker of mathematical software.

OCW Scholar courses represent a new approach to OCW publication. MIT professors and students work closely with the OCW team to restructure the learning experience for independent learners, who typically have few additional resources available to them. The courses offer more materials than typical OCW courses and include new custom-created content. The OCW Scholar version of Linear Algebra includes videos of all the course lectures supplemented by lecture summaries and by 36 short videos showing how to solve specific problems.

The first five of a planned twenty OCW Scholar courses were launched by MIT OpenCourseWare in January 2011, and have collectively received more than 800,000 visits in less than a year.  The initial OCW Scholar courses included Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Solid State Chemistry, Single Variable Calculus, and Multivariable Calculus.  Linear Algebra is the first of seven OCW Scholar courses that will be published in 2012. Other upcoming OCW Scholar courses include Principles of Microeconomics, Differential Equations, Introduction to Psychology, Fundamentals of Biology, Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science I, and Introduction to Computer Science and Programming. OCW Scholar courses are published on the OCW site with the support of the Stanton Foundation.

About MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of substantially all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,100 in all—available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 1.75 million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 100 million individuals have accessed OCW materials.  MIT OpenCourseWare is supported by donations from site visitors, grants and corporate sponsorship.

About Gilbert Strang

Gilbert Strang attended MIT as an undergraduate and was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA, and since then he has taught at MIT. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He is the MathWorks Professor of Mathematics at MIT and an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, and has published eight textbooks.  He was the President of SIAM during 1999 and 2000, and Chair of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics. He has received numerous awards and prizes, including the von Neumann Medal, the Henrici Prize, first Su Buchin Prize, and the Haimo Prize.

About the Stanton Foundation

The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications. During his 25 years as president of CBS, he turned a lesser-known radio network into a broadcasting powerhouse. Stanton made many historic contributions to the industry and to the society it served. In 1960, he initiated the first televised presidential debates—the famous Nixon-Kennedy “Great Debates”—which required a special Act of Congress before they could proceed.  He also spearheaded the creation of the first coast-to-coast broadcasting system, allowing CBS to become the first network to present a news event live across the continental United States, a speech by President Truman at the opening of the Japanese Peace Conference in San Francisco. Frank Stanton was the commencement speaker at MIT in 1961.

Contact:

Stephen Carson

External Relations Director

MIT OpenCourseWare

617-253-1250

scarson@mit.edu

http://ocw.mit.edu

Two MIT OpenCourseWare collaborators named FC 2011 Most Innovative Edu Companies

Fast Company has named two of MIT OpenCourseWare’s recent collaborators as 2011 Most Innovative Companies in Education. Irynsoft, maker of the recently released MIT OpenCourseWare LectureHall app, and OpenStudy, who hosts our OCW study groups, were both named. From the announcement:

07 / OpenStudy

For building a social learning network where students can ask questions, offer help, and connect with other students studying similar topics. Its mission is to make the world one large study group, regardless of students’ locations or backgrounds.

08 / Irynsoft

For providing the first basic mobile platform that allows users to take a course on their iPhone. It has already been adopted by MIT OpenCourseWare.

Unlocking the gates, reading notes

So, as promised, a few thoughts on Unlocking the Gates, Taylor Walsh’s examination of online courseware (to use her term). I’ve taught enough writing to understand that telling a story like this is largely about the creation of a false coherence through the imposition of narrative structure, and is as much about omission as about what is included. In other words, it’s a sensemaking exercise.  Taylor’s book is a valuable introduction to the field and the key issues, and most of the critiques I have are along the lines of what gets lost or obscured in the telling of any story, rather than things I think are wrong or ought to have been addressed differently.

First, by virtue of the projects selected, the book makes online courseware seem like the province of elite institutions, and at least in the OCW world it’s simply not the case. After the launch of MIT OpenCourseWare, the next OCW to go live was the Fullbright Economics Teaching Program OCW in Vietnam (which has been posting content as long as we have). A quick look at the list of OCW Consortium members will reveal a collection of schools working at a variety of levels and serving a variety of audiences, which together have published an enormous amount of material (12,000 courses excluding MIT’s). Many of the discussions in the book would have been much richer with an examination of why these schools are publishing their content openly.

What is also obvious from looking at the OCWC membership list is that it’s a very international movement. The chapter on NPTEL is really valuable, and does a great job of illustrating how NPTEL is not a follow-on to OCW but a thoughtful application of technology and open sharing to a local educational problem. By virtue of the projects selected again, however, the book is weighted to US (and British) efforts, whereas the OCW movement has huge centers of gravity in IberoAmerica, Asia and other regions. The book would have been significantly enhanced by more attention to these efforts, including the enormous effort in China to publish courseware in support of the educational system there.  Fortunately, Stian Haklev has written an excellent thesis on the subject, which I recommend as an additional reading for anyone reading Unlocking the Gates.

I do think the analysis of the value of the projects is fairly one-dimensional, focused narrowly on the subject of student learning, largely because this is where the projects overlap and because this is the most measurable of impacts.  Fair enough to say that MIT OpenCourseWare is not the ideal tool to support student learning and that OLI is better designed to meet this need, but students moving through OCW materials as though they were taking a course is a very small portion of our overall use.  OCW is used as an educational reference resource more than as a set of online course one can somehow “take” and demonstrating value needs to take account of a wide range of uses.  Which is what makes it hard.

But lines have to be drawn somewhere in doing this kind of work and certainly this was a tremendous effort on Taylor’s part and it’s a huge contribution to the field.

One small thing that is factually wrong is the level of effort that goes into MIT OpenCourseWare’s media relations–Taylor indicates that OCW “employs two full-time external relations professionals” charged with dealing with the media.  Not the case.  I am External Relations Director, and I have an External Outreach Manager, Yvonne, that works with me.  Yvonne spends the bulk of her time managing analytics reporting, our mirror site and translation programs, and running out visitor donations program (which she does very successfully).  She rarely interacts with the media–only in a pinch if I am unavailable.  I do work with media, by it’s maybe 20% of my time, if that.  I manage our program evaluation, oversee significant portions of our other fundraising efforts, manage relationships with a portfolio of prospective and current collaborators, and spend a chunk of my time on duties related to the OCW Consortium.

I also think that the purpose of the media efforts is misidentified in the book–it’s really not to improve MIT’s brand; MIT gets plenty enough positive news coverage as it is.  We were charged by the MIT faculty with producing the greatest benefit possible out of their gifts of educational content, and that means making as many people as possible aware of OCW.  Awareness is right in the wheelhouse of our core mission—generating global benefit.  The secondary aspect is that our sustainability will depend on growing our audience to the point where visitor donations are a significant revenue stream and we reach enough people to make corporate underwriting attractive.  Certainly MIT as a whole benefits from the positive press, but lots of amazing people do amazing work here—MIT could get more bang for the buck highlighting that work than inventing a whole program like this to trumpet.  Plus, as I’ve often said, MIT could likely have gotten the same PR benefit from publishing 200 courses rather than 2,000.

I guess the reason this bothers me (after all, I should just shut up and take credit for it) is that saying that MIT’s success is the result of savvy marketing diminishes importance of the faculty’s content and the value our audience finds in it.  OCW is a program that markets itself because it provides content and educational opportunities that people truly value–it’s a story that tells itself.  My job in working with the media is largely to not mess up telling the story.

MIT OpenCourseWare named WISE Award Laureate

Posted in media, MIT OpenCourseWare, open education, Open Educational Resources, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on November 15, 2010

Qatar Foundation selects OCW as a winner of the 2010 World Innovation Summit for Education Award

CAMBRIDGE, MA, November 15, 2010 — The Qatar Foundation announced today that MIT OpenCouseWare has been selected as one of six laureates for the 2010 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award. Initiated in 2009, the WISE Award is designed to reward, showcase and support outstanding and innovative educational projects from across the world and from all educational sectors. WISE Awards 2010 reward initiatives under the theme of Transforming Education: Investment, Innovation and Inclusion.

Thirty finalists, including OCW, were selected from hundreds of applicants across 89 countries. The laureates were chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Dr Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE, Qatar Foundation. The panel included Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, Executive Chair of Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA); Dr Judith S. Eaton, President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), USA; Mr Mike Gibbons CEO, Richard Rose Federation; Professor Fasli Jalal, Vice Minister of National Education, Indonesia; and Professor Zhou Qifeng, President, Peking University.

Other 2010 laureates include Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), South Africa; The Citizens Foundation, Pakistan; Mother Child Education Program (MOCEP),ACEV–Mother Child Education Foundation, Turkey; The Smallholders Farmers Rural Radio (Farm 98.0 FM), The Smallholders Foundation, Nigeria; and Rewrite the Future, Save the Children, UK.

“It’s a tremendous honor for MIT OpenCourseWare to be listed among such fine education projects from around the world,” says Associate Provost Philip Khoury, who oversees MIT’s strategic planning for international education and research, as well as the MIT OpenCourseWare program. “We are very pleased to have received this recognition from the Qatar Foundation and to have been selected by a panel of respected educational leaders with such a broad global perspective.”

On Wednesday, December 8, MIT OpenCourseWare Executive Director Cecilia d’Oliveira will speak at the Qatar Foundation’s World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar, as part of a panel on Open Education Models. The Summit will bring together over 1,000 participants from many different walks of life and every corner of the world: eminent decision makers, educationalists, thought leaders, politicians and a wide range of public and private sector multistakeholders. Together they will continue fostering innovative collaborations and action-oriented initiatives, inspiring and spearheading creative change in the world of education.

About the Qatar Foundation

Qatar Foundation is dedicated to building human capital in a part of the world where the need and potential for human development are considerable. Through its threefold mission of education, scientific research and community development, it is helping build a sustainable society where the sharing and creation of knowledge will enhance quality of life for all. Qatar Foundation was established in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, as a vehicle to convert the country’s current, but temporary, mineral wealth into durable human capital.

About OpenCourseWare

An OpenCourseWare is a free and open digital publication of high quality university-level educational materials – often including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, and exams – organized as courses. While OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiatives typically do not provide a degree, credit, or certification, or access to instructors, the materials are made available under open licenses for use and adaptation by educators and learners around the world.

About MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of substantially all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,000 in all—available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 1.5 million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 70 million visitors have accessed the free MIT educational materials on the site or in translation.

Contact:

Stephen Carson
External Relations Director
MIT OpenCourseWare
617-253-1250
scarson at mit dot edu

http://ocw.mit.edu

ReadWriteWeb covers OCW/OpenStudy

Audrey Watters over at ReadWriteWeb has a really nice writeup on the OCW/OpenStudy collaboration, which continues to grow at an impressive rate. The 6.00 group is over 3200 members, the Single Variable Calculus group has hit 2500, and nearly all of the more recently introduced ones have participants in the hundreds. Thanks for the coverage, Audrey!

OpenStudy & MIT OpenCourseWare on CNN

Our groups on OpenStudy continue to grow at a tremendous rate. The largest is now up to 2,200 members. The OpenStudy crew was recently interviewed by CNN, and I hear a rumor that Fox News is next. Thanks for the props, Ashwin.

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