Thursday, June 29, 2006

MIT's OpenCourseWare: A Web-based Collection of Free Educational Resources

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an American top notch research university has an extensive collection of free and open educational resources- MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW).

MIT OCS is large-scale, web-based electronic publishing initiative that provides "free, searchable, access to MIT's course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world". The initiative started in 2001, the course material can be used free of charge, copied and distributed anywhere in the world under a Creative Commons license (non commercial and not-for profit uses).

Unfortunately, these resources haven't been of significant benefit to many African colleges. According to MIT OpenCourseWare's Farnaz Haghseta states, "the OCW materials are largely underutilised in many African regions where Internet connectivity is limited. To overcome this limitation, MIT OCW is looking to collaborate with educational institutions that are interested in hosting a mirror site, or a local copy of the MIT OCW materials."

Haghseta says "the goal of the programme is to have 100 mirror sites installed at African educational institutions by the end of 2006." Interested institutions should contact Haghseta at