MIT's "Open Knowledge Systems" Initiative

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has some of its course materials available online -- for free.

With an Internet connection and a Web browser, you can access MIT's pilot project: OpenCourseWare which includes the syllabus, lecture notes, exams (with answers), and videotaped lectures of 32 MIT courses.

When this information was posted many years ago (circa 2004), typical MIT undergraduates paid $26,960 per year for these same course materials.

This pilot project was part of a multiyear effort to create a unified approach to online access to the Institute's classes. The MIT faculty was interested in embracing a comparison to the open-source model used by software developers who publish, license and release their products free of charge. Although MIT was not offering course credits for degrees with a similarly free pricing scheme, students were getting an increasing amount of their MIT education in the privacy of their own dorm room, rather than attending live lectures.

Although at the time, there were still 1,968 courses remaining to be published, this effort for teaching and learning using the new framework called "open knowledge systems" was an important example of innovation for the future of higher education.

Related Articles

The NO DEAD TREES Collection

  • Storing Data in a Hologram

    The traditional way of taking a three-dimensional photograph, or hologram, involves splitting a laser beam in two, reflecting one half (known as the object beam) off the thing that is to be holographed, and then recombining it with the other half (known as the reference beam) and exposing a photographic film to the result.

    The process of recombination produces an interference pattern that is recorded on the film, and when this pattern is viewed in suitable lighting, an image that looks three-dimensional becomes visible to the eye.

    Read more

  • MIT's "Open Knowledge Systems" Initiative

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has some of its course materials available online -- for free.

    With an Internet connection and a Web browser, you can access MIT's pilot project: OpenCourseWare which includes the syllabus, lecture notes, exams (with answers), and videotaped lectures of 32 MIT courses.

    Read more

  • C is for Conundrum

    Sometimes I hear bits and pieces of song lyrics in my head. I find many of them to be particularly relevant, like Dave Matthews asking you "what would you say", or The Who exhorting you to "pick up your guitar and play".

    Of course, it’s much easier said than done. There are so many other distractions, as well as necessary duties in life, that there is often little time left for anything unscheduled. As much as I love playing music, I often find that I need to have a goal in mind in order to make time to play.

    Read more