Live From the OpenCourseWare Consortium Conference: Day 1

May 04, 2011

After an energizing day of pre-conference workshops and conversations with fascinating people, the team was excited for today, the first official day of the OpenCourseWare Consortium conference. Read on to find out about the days events.

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by Stacy Redd

Free Education Around the World

The day began with opening remarks from Dr. Susan Hockfield, president of MIT. Dr. Hockfield talked about the broad reach of open course materials and of these materials transformative power. In the ten years since MIT pioneered the first course, the university has published 2,000 unique courses. Universities around the world have further contributed to the movement with over 15,000 courses! As the movement grows, accessibility improves.

The World of Media

After Dr. Hockfield's remarks, Tim O'Reilly of publishing powerhouse O'Reilly Media gave a keynote address about the impacts of openness of technology developments and innovations. O'Reilly discussed the history of open source software and how this history relates to open education. He concluded that many minds working together to create an open access product can often create something far superior to a proprietary system. He also described how creators of open course materials need to think beyond the traditional structure of courses and programs and come up with more modular, small-bit approaches to teaching.

OCW Consortium Conference 2011

OCW: Ten Years Later

MIT unveiled OCW ten years ago, and the morning's panel session featured some of the people involved in bringing MIT's courses to the world. MIT's main mission is the generation, dissemination and preservation of knowledge, and the university's OCW offerings help them accomplish that goal. Even though MIT is known for its prowess in science and engineering, the planners wanted to make sure that the university's OCW showcased all of MIT's offerings, which is why you can find OCW in diverse areas like history and architecture as well as science and engineering.

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OCW's Early Adopters

We enjoyed meeting and chatting with Marcela Morales and Igor Lesko, the OCW Consortium's Member Services Coordinators, at lunch, and then we headed for the afternoon panel session, which featured some of OCW's early adopters. Representatives from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, University of Notre Dame, Tufts University, the Japan OCW Consortium, and CORE (China Open Resources for Education) talked about their institutions' mission and goals in bringing free course materials to the world. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog article about this panel session.

Coming Soon on

Our day was chock full of interviews with innovators working to bring different types of open education to the world. We talked with Jutta Treviranus about her efforts to increase accessibility options in learning environments, OCW Consortium Executive Director Mary Lou Forward about her work with the consortium and MIT's Lindsey Weeramuni about understanding intellectual property issues. We also met with Dr. Gary Matkin and Larry Cooperman of UC Irvine about the history and future of OCW at UCI, Anka Mulder of the Delft University of Technology about TU Delft's work with OCW and water management and Dr. YongSheng Sun from Columbia Basin College, who told us about teaching with a global audience in mind.

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