Guest Author - Patricia Pedraza-Nafziger
The popularity of free courses offered by top universities is growing, and one such university is MIT with its Open Courseware (OCW). Composed of over 250 universities and organizations worldwide, MIT OCW Consortium is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing education worldwide by offering online publications of a wide variety of course content. Since its inception on April 4, 2001 when MIT announced it would publish all educational course materials openly on the Internet, OCW has shared materials from over 2,000 courses and reached an estimated 100 million people globally.
A free educational avenue such as this has the capacity to reach a variety of people, including educators seeking improved teaching methodologies, students seeking classes not available at their own universities, and independent learners finding ways to broaden their scope of learning. Using OCWs Course Finder can help interested parties locate courses by topic, sub-topic, and area of specialty. For instance, if one selects the topic of Teaching and Education, the sub-topics that display are as follows:
Curriculum and Teaching
Education Measurement and Evaluation
Instructional Media Design
Psychology and Research
Depending on the area of teaching and education in which you are interested, you can also filter the search results to the following delivery methods: video and audio lectures, student work, lecture notes, assessments, online textbooks, and interactive simulations. Furthermore, many of the courses have been translated to Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Persian, Turkish, and Korean.
MIT OCW provides a global educational resource touching millions of people, and it would not have been possible without the help of hundreds of donors who have made this free educational system possible. The total annual cost to run MIT OCW is roughly $3.5 million, the money being spent to support faculty working to compile course materials and format for global distribution. Additionally, MIT OCW provides course content via rich media resources such as video lectures, animations, and simulations, all sustained through a complex technical infrastructure distributing courses worldwide.
For those interested in donating to MIT OCW and helping to provide the opportunity for others to gain valuable knowledge, please visit the MIT OpenCourseware at http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm.
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