OpenCourseWare, or OCW, is a term applied to course materials created by universities and shared freely with the world via the Internet. Already in 1999 the University of Tübingen in Germany published videos of lectures online in the context of its timms initiative. The OCW movement only took off, however, with the launch of MIT OpenCourseWare at MIT in October 2002. Since then, a number of universities have created OCW projects, some of which have been funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
An OpenCourseWare is a free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses. 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 education and empower people worldwide through opencourseware.
According to the website of the OCW Consortium, an OCW project:
- is a free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses.
- is available for use and adaptation under an open license.
- does not typically provide certification or access to instructors.
The Goals of the Consortium
- Extend the reach and impact of opencourseware by encouraging the adoption and adaptation of open educational materials around the world.
- Foster the development of additional opencourseware projects.
- Ensure the long-term sustainability of opencourseware projects by identifying ways to improve effectiveness and reduce costs.
In order to participate in Consortium activities, institutions must have committed to publishing, under the institution’s name, materials from at least 10 courses in a format that meets the agreed-upon definition of an opencourseware. Organizations that do not publish their own content but whose activities further Consortium goals—such as translation and distribution affiliates—also participate in Consortium activities.
For managing the course content, we can use a CMS (Content Management System) called eduCommons which is developed by Utah University’s Center for Open Sustainable Learning. eduCommons is built on the open source CMS called Plone and is used by many members of OCW Consortium.
Institutions and organizations participating in OpenCourseWare Consortium activities will have the following button featured on their individual OCW Web sites: