OpenFiction [Blog]

2012 Awards for OpenCourseWare Excellence call for nominations

The OpenCourseWare Consortium is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the second annual Awards for OpenCourseWare Excellence (ACE). The OCW ACE’s will be presented at the next global OpenCourseWare Consortium meeting in Cambridge, U.K., April 16-18, 2012.

The Awards or OpenCourseWare Excellence recognize outstanding individual contributions to the OCW/OER movement, exemplary OCW member sites and excellent individual course presentations. A panel of voting members will select ACE site and course winners from finalists culled by the award committee. Individual winners will be selected by a vote of the board of directors.

Nominations for individuals, sites and courses will be accepted through January 13, 2012 and may be submitted through the following page ( or by e-mailing Nominations for sites and courses are encouraged to be submitted as two-minute video/screen capture tours of the relevant content. Visit the above web page for complete information on preliminary criteria, rules and eligibility.

The OCWC is seeking volunteers to serve on the ACE Committee to refine award criteria and select award finalists. The Consortium is also seeking a sponsor for the awards ceremony at the upcoming Consortium meeting.


Good news for open sharing, but also a challenge

The announcement by Blackboard that they will now be supporting open sharing on the Blackboard platform is definitely good news, but I also think it really forces the issue of developing an open education strategy at schools using Blackboard. Unfortunately, sharing educational content is much more complicated than simply clicking the new “Share” button. If individual faculty begin to advocate for the open sharing of their materials, the schools are going to have to think about a number of related issues:

  • Who will be responsible for vetting the intellectual property of the content being shared? Are we just going to let the faculty deal with it?
  • How do we want our university to be represented through open content? Is this just going to end up as a grab bag collection of the materials from faculty willing to share, or are we going to publish open materials more strategically to accomplish a larger end?
  • How will this open publication intersect with other efforts to harness digital technologies to enhance the campus experience or build distance learning programs? How can it help? How can it hurt?
  • How will we as a school communicate to internal and external constituencies about our open sharing approach?

Not an exhaustive list, by any means, but some of the questions raised. Fortunately, the OCW Consortium has lots of resources to help schools develop their answers.

OCWC 2012 Call for Papers

The OpenCourseWare Consortium and the Support Centre for Open Resources in Education (SCORE) of The Open University in the UK invite session proposals for their combined 2012 global conference, Innovation and Impact: Openly collaborating to enhance education. The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a worldwide community of universities and organizations committed to open sharing in post-secondary education by advancing OpenCourseWare and its impact on global education. SCORE is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and its mission is to work with the UK Higher Education sector to realise the benefits of Open Educational Resources in all aspects of academic life.

We encourage submissions for sessions that highlight developments in open education through the use of OpenCourseWare, summarize research on open learning, showcase best academic practices through the use of Open Educational Resources, discuss innovative approaches to open sharing, and encourage deep thinking about the future of the OpenCourseWare and Open Educational Resources movement for educational systems around the world.

Conference Themes

The role of open technologies in encouraging sharing and reuse of open content
Methods for researching and evaluating open academic practices
Ways in which people can be trained to utilise open content more effectively

How OCW/OER are changing the practices of teachers
The impact that OCW/OER is having on formal and informal learners
How institutional or governmental policies are supporting the open education movement

Ways in which educational institutions are effectively working together around open content
How educational institutions are working on open content with both commercial and not-for-profit organisations
How educational institutions are working on open content with professional bodies and employer associations.

Submissions Due: December 1, 2011
Acceptance Announcements: Week of January 2, 2012
Speaker Registration Deadline: February 27, 2012
Final Papers Due: March 1, 2012

You can submit the proposal at

Also, deadline for the call for proposals to host OCWC Global Meeting 2013 is extended to October 31st. You can find more information and more information at

How it all began (the retrospective edition)

Here is the video of one of my all-time favorite OCW experiences–the panel I moderated at OCWC 2011 of many of the principals involved in MIT’s decision to undertake OCW. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to get to know each one of these gentlemen and see first hand the collective commitment among them to simple do good in the world.

Call for Participation: 2012 Awards for OpenCourseWare Committee

Posted in Consortium Meetings, OpenCourseWare, OpenCourseWare Consortium by scarsonmsm on September 19, 2011

Also posted on the OCW Consortium blog.

The 2012 Awards for OpenCourseWare (ACE) Committee is seeking members to help refine the program for its second year and to judge nominees for the awards to presented at the 2012 Global OpenCourseWare Consortium Meeting April 16-18 in Cambridge, UK.

The ACEs honor individuals, OCW sites and individual courses that have made significant contributions to the OCW movement. In October of this year the ACE Committee will re-examine the process used to confer last year’s awards and set the process for this year. Nominations are expected to be accepted in November and December of this year, and ACE Committee members will participate in selection of winners during the spring months.

The Committee is seeking participants that will provide the broadest possible representation of Consortium membership, and especially welcomes individuals fluent in multiple languages. To volunteer for the ACE Committee, please register for the ACE mailing list here.

How it all began

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

From MIT President Susan Hockfield’s Welcome to OCWC 2011

We were very pleased to have MIT President Susan Hockfield provide the official welcome from the hosting institutions at the 2011 Global OpenCourseWare Consortium Conference on May 4. Though we’ll eventually have video of the event, including her welcome, I thought I’d share an excerpt from her remarks here as well.

Over the last 10 years, MIT OpenCourseWare has had a tremendous impact on MIT itself, transforming the way we connect with students and alumni, the way we think about teaching and learning, and the way we understand our role in the world. I expect this is true for all of you, too: as the movement has taken off, we have come to see how OCW and open sharing have magnified many times over our power to contribute to global education. The worldwide embrace of MIT OpenCourseWare continues to be incredibly gratifying. Students and faculty from more than 3,000 universities around the world have visited the MIT site alone, as have many millions of independent learners from around the globe. We receive moving e-mails from users describing how MIT OpenCourseWare has unlocked the doors to new worlds for them.

And the doors keep opening, everywhere, as more and more universities join the movement, bringing their own unique approaches to education. Part of the Consortium’s story can be told in numbers: The Consortium now includes more than 250 universities and organizations, representing 45 countries and regions around the world. Collectively, Consortium members have published more than 15,000 courses. These courses are published or translated in 12 languages, including Catalan, Chinese, English, Hebrew, Japanese, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese. National governments of at least five countries now have policies on the development and use of open educational resources. And now some numbers that speak to the superb quality of the movement: in the latest US News ranking of the top 25 global universities, nine have an OpenCourseWare or open educational resources program; 15 of the top 50 do.

Another potent aspect of the OCW Consortium story is the global leadership and cooperation its members demonstrate every day. The Consortium counts among its members such well-known institutions as Oxford, UC Berkeley, the University of Tokyo and Seoul National University, working hand in hand with schools as diverse as the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, the Virtual University of Pakistan, and Utah Valley University. The Consortium’s board of directors draws its members from Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and the United States. Perhaps most important, the Consortium’s success springs from the many thousands of educators around the world—from across cultures and continents—who have embraced the importance of knowledge as a public good and have chosen to freely share their intellectual resources.

No idea, no matter how revolutionary, emerges without precedent. By the year 2000, many forces stirring in the young Internet inclined toward increasing openness, from open source software to open licensing, and MIT OpenCourseWare certainly drew strength and inspiration from them. However, I believe OpenCourseWare is properly the child of a much more ancient tradition, as well: For as long as the Western world has had universities, a defining feature of the academy has been the simultaneous pursuit of the same ideas, around the globe, and the drive to come together around those ideas. In a world too often fractured by conflict, this tradition of the “global intellectual commons” represents an important convening force for humankind, and a potent force for unified global action and the advancement of the common good. If we nurture the global intellectual commons, by reaching out to work with collaborators around the world to share our knowledge freely, and if we prepare our students to appreciate the value of this remarkable tradition, so beautifully embodied by the OCW Consortium, we will go a long way towards inventing a better future for all.

Once I get all my neglected items back under control, I’ll probably have some additional reflections on what was a remarkably successful event (if I do say so myself). Much of that success is due to the efforts of Brandon Muramatsu and the rest of the conference committee, who devoted a ton of time to the planning and execution. Thanks to all.

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.

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.