OpenFiction [Blog]

Register early, register often: OCWC 2011 May 4-6

Celebrating 10 Years of OCWOk, you only need to register once. But make sure you do it. Representatives of 200+ OpenCourseWares from around the world. Tim O’Reilly as keynote speaker. A panel including key participants in the establishment of MIT OpenCourseWare. Looking back at ten years, looking forward to the next ten. All right here on the MIT campus. Don’t miss it! Early registration through March 25th.

Class size: 10,000

The OpenStudy group for 6.00 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming has now eclipsed 10,000 participants. That’s a seriously big class. But what impresses me even more is the depth of interaction in some of the discussions, like this one.

Other groups are also growing at an impressive rate. 18.01 Single Variable Calculus has nearly 8,500 participants. 21F.101 Chinese I has over 2,000. Several others are closing in on a thousand participants, and all but one of the recently introduced OCW Scholar groups have attracted participants in the hundreds.

I cringe as I write this

As I really have a lot on my plate, but I’m not sure which statement David would disagree with:

• Educational resources are, on balance, beneficial to those who have access to them.
• Being “open” doesn’t diminish the value of “educational resources.”
• Obtaining permission to publish under full copyright is as expensive as publishing under an open license.
• The capacity open licenses provide for translation of OER into other languages, which has extended access to millions, is itself sufficient benefit to justify their use.

I feel like we are going in circles again. Notice how that link points to a previous link as well…

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.

Understanding Nuclear Reactor Design and Safety

Posted in MIT OpenCourseWare, open education, Open Educational Resources, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on March 15, 2011

As Japanese engineers struggle to control the damaged nuclear facilities, you may be looking for resources to help you understand the science and engineering behind the challenges they face. Here are a few MIT OpenCourseWare courses that may help:

OCW and OER: Who’s in?

In preparation for the upcoming OCW Consortium meeting, I’ve been surveying the OCW/OER landscape, and come up with what is (for me, anyway) a bit of a startling observation: the number of universities in the 2010 US News World’s Best Universities list that have significant OCW/OER programs underway. By my count, 9 of the top 25, and 15 of the top 50.

This is in no way to downplay the importance of the hundreds of other universities worldwide that are sharing their materials as well. The less resourced universities that serve larger and less prepared student populations provide some of the most valuable materials, but if you want a measure of where the world’s leading universities are in their thinking about OCW and OER, this is worth considering.

Here’s who I see in the list:

Johns Hopkins*
University of Tokyo*
UC Berkeley*
Carnegie Mellon
Ecole Polytechnique*
Seoul National*

* Members of the OCW Consortium.

MIT Professor Walter Lewin Named Award Recipient by the OCW Consortium

Recognized with other leaders of the global OpenCourseWare movement.

CAMBRIDGE, MA – MIT Physics Professor Walter Lewin has been selected to receive the inaugural Educator Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence (ACE) for his world-renown Physics courses available through MIT OpenCourseWare. Professor Lewin’s courses, including 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics, 8.02 Electricity and Magnetism, and 8.03 Physics III: Vibrations and Waves, have consistently been among the most visited courses on MIT OpenCourseWare, and have been collectively visited more than 5 million times.

In total, more than 100 lectures from Professor Lewin’s courses are available on the web, through MIT OpenCourseWare as well as through iTunes U and YouTube. His videos receive more than one million views a year through these outlets. Fans send Professor Lewin dozens of e-mails daily, all of which he answers himself. Professor Lewin was a pioneer of open education sharing well before OpenCourseWare, with his recorded lectures appearing on Seattle public television starting in 1995.

Honored with Professor Lewin by the OCW Consortium are Pedro Aranzadi Elejabeitia and Catherine Casserly. Managing Director at Portal Universia, S.A, Aranzadi is the recipient of the OpenCourseWare Consortium’s Leadership ACE for his efforts in organizing Spanish and Latin American OpenCourseWares. Creative Commons CEO, Casserly has been awarded the President’s Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence for her work in developing the Open Educational Resources program at the Hewlett Foundation.

The Awards for OpenCourseWare Excellence provide annual recognition to outstanding individuals, courseware and OpenCourseWare sites in the OCW Consortium community. The awards are presented each year at the global OpenCourseWare Consortium’s annual conference, to be held this year May 4-6 on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Individual award recipients are selected by the Consortium’s Board of Directors; site and course awards are selected by an awards committee populated from the Consortium membership.

“We’re thrilled to recognize these outstanding contributions,” said OCW Consortium Executive Director Mary Lou Forward. “Each of these individuals embodies the commitment to open sharing that has allowed this movement to grow so dramatically.”

The OpenCourseWare Consortium Awards for OpenCourseWare Excellence are sponsored by KNEXT, a learning assessment and advisory service. KNEXT is owned and operated by Kaplan Higher Education Corporation, a division of Kaplan, Inc., a world leader in education and training services.

About Professor Walter Lewin

A native of The Netherlands, Professor Walter H. G. Lewin received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Delft (1965). In 1966, he came to MIT as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Physics and was invited to join the faculty as an Assistant Professor later that same year. He was promoted to Associate Professor of Physics in 1968 and to full Professor in 1974. Professor Lewin’s honors and awards include the NASA Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1978), twice recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Award (1984 and 1991), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1984), MIT’s Science Council Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (1984) and the W. Buechner Teaching Prize of the MIT Department of Physics (1988). In 1997, he was the recipient of a NASA Group Achievement Award for the Discovery of the Bursting Pulsar. He is a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (elected 1993), Fellow of the American Physical Society.

About Pedro Aranzadi Elejabeitia

Currently managing director for Universia Spain and CIO for Universia Holding, Pedro Aranzadi Elejabeitia has worked in a number of roles at Portal Universia since 2003 to further the open sharing of educational materials on the web. From 2004 to 2005 he led the translation of MIT OpenCourseWare courses into Spanish and Portuguese, and from 2006 on he has coordinated the development of OCW sites at more than 100 Spanish and Latin American universities. Prior to his work at Portal Universia, he was the founder and managing director of Spaindustry, the first B2B Marketpace online in Spain. He also served as marketing director and associate managing director of Camerdata, S.A., a pioneer company in the telematic information business prior to the internet era.

About Catherine Casserly

Catherine Casserly is currently CEO of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation; Creative Commons licenses support the open sharing of many Consortium member course materials. In her prior role at the Carnegie Foundation, Cathy served as Senior Partner & Vice President, Innovation and Open Networks, spearheading Carnegie’s work in the area of open education and supporting the creation of alternative mathematics pathways for community college students. She also served as director of the Open Educational Resources Initiative at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she guided more than $100 million in support to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge sharing worldwide and worked to raise global awareness of resources, participants and their projects. She served as program manager for Hewlett’s grant to MIT in support of MIT OpenCourseWare.

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 100 million individuals have accessed OCW materials.
About the OpenCourseWare Consortium

The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a collaboration of more than 200 higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model. The mission of the OpenCourseWare Consortium is to advance formal and informal learning through the worldwide sharing and use of free, open, high-quality education materials organized as courses.

Activities of the OpenCourseWare Consortium are supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, member dues, and contributions from sustaining members including: African Virtual University, China Open Resources for Education, Delft University of Technology, Japan OpenCourseWare Consortium, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Korea OpenCourseWare Consortium, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NetEase Information Technology, Open Universiteit, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Tufts University, Universia, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, University of California, Irvine, University of Michigan, and University of the Western Cape.


There are millions of adults interested in finding a new job, moving onto a new career, or getting a college degree. But as we all know, the path can seem daunting, expensive and confusing. Enter KNEXT. We help adults identify how to earn college credit for their learning from life and work experience— be it on the job, traveling, volunteering or training. We provide a wealth of resources to help them make the right decisions for their future. And we inventory this information and advocate on their behalf at universities across the country — helping adult students transition to college in a faster, less expensive manner. For additional information about KNEXT, go to

MIT OpenCourseWare vs. Spiderman

For what it’s worth:

Metric MIT OpenCourseWare Spiderman: Turn off the dark
Years in production 8 1
Cost to date $40 M $65 M
Audience to date 100 M 20,000 (est.)
Ticket price Free $70-$250
Irish rock icons 0–so far 2 (Bono, The Edge)
Major production delays None 4
Serious injuries to principals 1 (see link below) 4
Fires 1 (2006) 0 that we know of
Critical reviews Largely positive Mixed
Web reach World-wide Stage-wide
Spandex-clad heros 2 (don’t ask) 1
Ratio of great power to great responsibility 1:10 10:1

10 years of OCW: How tweet it is

As a lead up to the OCW Consortium meeting in May, the Consortium is tweeting out events and user comments from 10 years of OCW over the next 9 weeks. Follow the fun here here.

These tweets are based on my notes and contributions from others across the Consortium and include the events found on the timeline on the MIT OpenCourseWare site.

To manage scope, this mostly reflects institutional efforts, but this is not meant to imply that open sharing of educational materials is limited to the events on this list, nor that open educational sharing began with MIT’s efforts. This timeline simply reflects the institutional efforts that culminated in the OCW Consortium. If you have additions to the timeline, please let me know.

Of course

Posted in Personal by scarsonmsm on March 4, 2011

After being assured by AT&T this morning that I didn’t qualify for a free Microcell and there was no power on earth that would be able to change it, and after being quoted the costs for canceling my account—so I know the service rep was looking at the account—what do I come home to? Of course:

AT&T letter with offer for free Microcell

For the record, today’s was the second call about getting a Microcell.