OpenFiction [Blog]

How it all began (the personal edition)

Posted in intellectual property, MIT OpenCourseWare, OpenCourseWare, Personal by scarsonmsm on June 25, 2011

At the recent OCWC conference in Boston, I had the pleasure of introducing the keynote, Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media. During the introduction (in addition to inflating my educational resume) I mentioned that I wouldn’t have ended up at MIT OpenCourseWare if not for an O’Reilly book.

I shared how in the year 2000, I decided either this whole Internet thing was going to pass me by or I was going to have to do something about it, so I picked up an O’Reilly HTML book, and like millions of others at the time, taught myself to code web pages. This led to my creating a distance learning course, which led to much frustration over my school’s intellectual property policy, which led to an appreciation of MIT’s approach, and ultimately to a job at OCW.

After the conference, I had a thank you gift to mail to Tim, and just before sending it I discovered the old dog-eared and coffee stained HTML book on the back of a shelf in my office. I included it with return postage, and Tim was kind enough to sign it and return it:

HTML book with Tim O'Reilly's signature on the cover

How it all began

How it all began

We’ve resurrected the original press conference announcing OCW. Hear firsthand how it all began…