From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

OpenCourseWare (OCW) are course lessons created at universities and published for free via the Internet. OCW projects first appeared in the late 1990s, and after gaining traction in Europe and then the United States have become a worldwide means of delivering educational content.


The OpenCourseWare movement started in 1999 when the University of Tübingen in Germany published videos of lectures online for its timms initiative (Tübinger Internet Multimedia Server).[1] The OCW movement only took off with the launch of MIT OpenCourseWare at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University[2] in October 2002. The movement was reinforced by the launch of similar projects at Yale, Utah State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley.[citation needed]

MIT's reasoning behind OCW was to "enhance human learning worldwide by the availability of a web of knowledge".[3] MIT also stated that it would allow students (including, but not limited to, its own) to become better prepared for classes so that they may be more engaged during a class. Since then, a number of universities have created OCW, some of which have been funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.[3]


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, such as certain Creative Commons licenses.
  • does not typically provide certification or access to faculty.[4]


Ten years after the US debut of OCW, in 2012 MIT and Harvard University announced the formation of edX, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform to offer online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide audience at no charge. This new initiative was based on MIT's "MITx" project, announced in 2011, and extends the concepts of OCW by offering more structured formal courses to online students, including in some cases the possibility of earning academic credit or certificates based on supervised examinations. A major new feature of the edX platform is the ability for students to interact with each other and with teachers in online forums. In some cases, students will help evaluate each other's work, and may even participate in some of the teaching online.[citation needed]

In addition, edX is being used as an experimental research platform to support and evaluate a variety of other new concepts in online learning.


A problem is that the creation and maintenance of comprehensive OCW requires substantial initial and ongoing investments of human labor. Effective translation into other languages and cultural contexts requires even more investment by knowledgeable personnel. This is one of the reasons why English is still the dominant language, and fewer open courseware options are available in other languages.[5] The OCW platform SlideWiki[6] addresses these issues through a crowdsourcing approach.


Eduflic[7] - eduflic provides the platform and tools for everyone to access fully accredited online courses and degrees from top universities and industry leaders.

OER Africa[edit]

OER Africa has various OCW offerings available:

  • The Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) Mathematics[8] to assist teachers in their understanding upper primary and middle school maths as well as teaching issues relating to mathematical content
  • The ACE School Leadership and Management[9] aimed at empowering school leaders to lead and manage schools effectively.
  • The Household Food Security Programme[10] aims to train household food security facilitators to work as change agents in the areas of agriculture, food and nutrition, focusing on households within communities.
  • The Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL)[11] assists university partners across East Africa to develop courses that can be offered by participant universities through blended learning.
  • The Agshare II project,[12] a collaboration between three HEIs in Ethiopia and Uganda on agricultural issues, lists a number of courseware documents under the list of Resources, while Communication Skills courseware developed by the University of Malawi is available at the IADP-SADC Digital Resources Project.[13]



  • Universidad Icesi, OpenCourseWare de la Universidad Icesi[14]



United States[edit]

This listing is roughly in the order of adoption of OCW principles.

The following are not directly affiliated with a specific university:



OpenCourseWare, originally initiated by MIT and the Hewlett Foundation, came to China in September 2003, when MIT and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) joined together with Beijing Jiaotong University to organize an OpenCourseWare conference in Beijing. As a result of this conference, 12 universities petitioned the government to institute a program of OpenCourseWare in China. This group included some of the most prestigious universities in China, as well as the Central Radio and Television University, which is China's central open university, with more than 2 million students.

As a result of this petition, the Chinese government instituted the CORE (China Open Resources for Education)[26] to promote OpenCourseWare in Chinese Universities, with Fun-Den Wang (the head of IETF) as chairman. The CORE is an NGO supported by the Hewlett Foundation, IETF and other foundations. According to CORE's website, it has nearly 100 Chinese universities as members, including the most prestigious universities in China, such as Tsinghua University, Peking University and Shanghai Jiaotong University.[27] This organization organized volunteers to translate foreign OpenCourseWare, mainly MIT OpenCourseWare into Chinese and to promote the application of OpenCourseWare in Chinese universities. In February 2008, 347 courses had been translated into Chinese and 245 of them were used by 200 professors in courses involving a total of 8,000 students. It also tried to translate some Chinese courses into English, but the number is not too much and some are only title translated.[28] There have also been produced 148 comparative studies comparing MIT curriculum with Chinese curriculum using the MIT OpenCourseWare material.[29] CORE's offices are hosted within the China Central Radio and Television University, and they receive partial funding from the IETF and the Hewlett Foundation.[30] They also host annual conferences on open education, and the 2008 conference was co-located with the international OpenCourseWare Consortium conference, which brought a large amount of foreign participants.[31] The website has been offline since 2013.[32]

But before the OpenCourseWare conference in Beijing and the establishment of CORE, on April 8, 2003, the Ministry of Education had published a policy to launch the China Quality Course (精品课程) program.[33] This program accepts applications for university lecturers that wish to put their courses online, and gives grants of between $10,000 – 15,000 CAD per course that is put online, and made available free of charge to the general public (ibid.). The most prestigious award is for the "national level CQOCW", then there is "provincial level" and "school level". From 2003 to 2010, they produced 3862 courses at the national level by 746 universities.[34] According to the official website for the China Quality Course, the total number of the courses available online is more than 20,000.[35] These typically include syllabus, course notes, overheads, assignments, and in many cases audio or video of the entire lectures.[30] The scale of this project has also spurred a large research activity, and over 3,000 journal articles have been written in Chinese about the topic of OpenCourseWare.[36]

The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) has been promoting Open Educational Resources (OER) in China.[37] provides culture studies and teaching in China under a Creative Commons license run by Contemporary Culture Studies (CCCS) of the Shanghai University.[38]

Guoxue is working on the digitization and promotion of ancient Chinese books.[39]

The National Science Library Institutional Repository contains journals and conference proceedings.[40]

The Social Learn Lab Community contains creative commons materials.[41] Its wiki is very inactive.[42]

The Songshuhui Community promotes science in china under the creative commons.[43]

The Chinese Journal of Lung Cancer is published under a creative commons license.[44]

China Quality Course[edit]

China Quality Course is a program launched by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China since April 8, 2003.[45] The website allows for ranking of courses.[46] From 2003 to 2010, 3862 courses had been produced at the national level by 746 universities.[47] According to the official website for the China Quality Course, the total number of courses available online is more than 20,000.[35] It lists no license or copyright on the website.[48]


University of Malaya (UM) is the foremost and premier Research University (RU) in Malaysia. It is a multidisciplinary RU that has more than 27,000 students and 1700 academic staff with 17 faculties and research centres that covers the whole spectrum of learning from the Arts, Sciences and Humanities. The university's beginning at the Kuala Lumpur campus dates back to 1959 and has graduated over 100,000 people, including leaders in various fields.[49]


The Virtual University (Urdu:ورچوئل یونیورسٹی; Vu), is a public university located in urban area of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Its additional campus is also located in residential area of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.

Established in 2002 by the Government of Pakistan to promote distance education in modern information and communication sciences as its primary objectives, the university is noted for its online lectures and broadcasting rigorous programs regardless of their students' physical locations. The university offers undergraduate and post-graduate courses in business administration, economics, computer science, and information technology. Due to its heavy reliance on serving lectures through the internet, Pakistani students residing overseas in several other countries of the region are also enrolled in the university's programs.


The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning is a Government of India sponsored collaborative educational program. By developing curriculum-based video and web courses, the program aims to enhance the quality of engineering education in India. It is being jointly carried out by 7 IITs and IISc, Bangalore and is funded by the Ministry of Human Resources Development of the Government of India.

Flexilearn is an open course portal. It was initiated by Indira Gandhi National Open University, and apart from providing free course materials, allows students to appear for the requisite exam conducted by the university and receive certification.

All previously operational local chapters are now collectively offering courses under SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds). This is done through a platform that facilitates hosting of all the courses, taught in classrooms from Class 9 till post-graduation. All the courses are interactive and free of cost to any learner. Nine national co-coordinators are appointed, which also includes NPTEL, i.e., course work by Indian engineering institutes headed by IIT Madras. The courses hosted on SWAYAM are in four quadrants – video lecture, specially prepared reading material that can be downloaded and/ or printed, self-assessment tests through tests and quizzes and an online discussion forum.[50]


OpenCourseWare was introduced and adopted in Japan.

In 2002, researchers from the National Institute of Multimedia Education (NIME) and Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) studied the MIT OpenCourseWare, leading them to develop an OCW pilot plan with 50 courses at Tokyo Institute of Technology in September.[51] Later, in July 2004, MIT gave a lecture about MIT OpenCourseWare at Tokyo Tech that prompted the first meeting of the Japan OCW Alliance. The meeting was held with four Japanese universities that had mainly been recruited through the efforts of MIT professor Miyagawa, and his personal contacts. In one case, the connection was the former president of the University of Tokyo being an acquaintance of Charles Vest, the former president of MIT.[52]

In 2006, the OCW International Conference was held at Kyoto University wherein the Japanese OCW Association was reorganized into the Japan OCW Consortium.[51] At that time, Japan OCW Consortium had over 600 courses; currently they have 18 university members, including the United Nations University (JOCW, n.d.). On Japanese university campuses there are few experts in content production, which makes it difficult to get support locally, and many of the universities have had to outsource their production of OCW. In example, the University of Tokyo has had to mainly employ students to create OCW.[51]

The motivation for joining the OCW movement seems to be to create positive change among Japanese universities, including modernizing presentation style among lecturers, as well as sharing learning material.[52] Japanese researchers have been particularly interested in the technical aspects of OCW, for example in creating semantic search engines. There is currently a growing interest for Open Educational Resources (OER) among Japanese universities, and more universities are expected to join the consortium.[53]

"In order to become an integral institution that contributes to OER, the JOCW Consortium needs to forge solidarity among the member universities and build a rational for OER on its own, different from that of MIT, which would support the international deployment of Japanese universities and also Japanese style e-Learning."[53]


The "Maktabkhooneh (Persian: مکتب خونه)" is an online educational platform in Iran which provides free online courses from universities in Iran. The motto of the Maktab-Khooneh is "Making Accessible Excellent High Quality Education For Every Iranian for Free".[54] Maktabkhooneh partners with Iran's top universities, mostly Sharif University of Technology, University of Tehran, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences and so on. There is more than 200 courses available on Maktabkhooneh for free.


Led by the National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan started organizing several open course plans, the main organization is named Taiwan open course and education consortium (Chinese: 台灣開放式課程暨教育聯盟). The plan attracted the National Taiwan University, National Chengchi University, National Taiwan Normal University, and others into the development of project.[55]







United Kingdom[edit]

Middle East[edit]

In the United Arab Emirates, a discussion, led by Dr. Linzi J. Kemp, American University of Sharjah,[58] has begun about sharing teaching and learning materials (‘open course ware’) through a community of educators and practitioners in the GCC. There is growing availability of high quality and free open access materials shared between universities e.g. MIT (USA). Resource sharing also takes place on the ‘Open University (UK), OpenLearn’ platform. Kemp (2013) proposes that teaching and learning will be enhanced when teachers across institutions of higher education work together to bring their shared knowledge into classrooms. Furthermore, when the platform is opened up to include practitioners - e.g. employers - then the relationship with the industry will further ensure that the teaching and learning is available and beneficial for a wider community.

The Open University of Israel is a member through its Pe'er initiative since 2008.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Tübinger Internet Multimedia Server". Archived from the original on 30 September 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Learn More About OLI". Archived from the original on 2015-01-06. Retrieved 2015-01-17.
  3. ^ a b Vest, C. M. (2004). "Why MIT decided to give away all its course materials via the Internet Archived 2015-09-05 at the Wayback Machine". The Chronicle of Higher Education, 50(21), B20.
  4. ^ "Benefits of Membership". Archived from the original on 2017-08-13. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  5. ^ Tarasowa, Darya; Darya Tarasowa; Ali Khalili; Sören Auer; Jörg Unbehauen (2013). "CrowdLearn: Crowd-sourcing the Creation of Highly-structured E-Learning Content". 5th International Conference on Computer Supported Education CSEDU 2013. Archived from the original on 2019-11-20. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
  6. ^ Auer, Sören. "First Public Beta of". Archived from the original on 20 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Eduflic - Ultimate Access to Online Courses and Degrees In Nigeria". Jun 1, 2020. Archived from the original on September 20, 2022. Retrieved Sep 16, 2022.
  8. ^ "ACEMaths | OER Africa". Archived from the original on October 6, 2022. Retrieved Sep 16, 2022.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Household Food Security Programme | OER Africa". Archived from the original on July 1, 2022. Retrieved Sep 16, 2022.
  11. ^ "Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL) | OER Africa". Archived from the original on September 25, 2022. Retrieved Sep 16, 2022.
  12. ^ "Agshare II | OER Africa". Archived from the original on July 1, 2022. Retrieved Sep 16, 2022.
  13. ^ "IADP-SADC Digital Resources Project | OER Africa". Archived from the original on July 1, 2022. Retrieved Sep 16, 2022.
  14. ^ "OCW". Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  15. ^ "OCW: Proposta". Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  16. ^ "Acerca de OCW — UDEM OpenCourseWare". Archived from the original on 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  17. ^ "OpenCourseWare - Universidad Anáhuac México Norte — OpenCourseWare de la Universidad Anáhuac México Norte". Archived from the original on 2014-10-07. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "Colleges with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)". Archived from the original on 3 July 2023. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  19. ^ Berkeley, UC. "Home – Webcast and Legacy Course Capture Content". Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Open Yale Courses". 30 November 2011. Archived from the original on 6 May 2021. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  21. ^ "JHSPH OCW". Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  22. ^ "UCI Open". Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  23. ^ "The Best Websites For Self Education Resources". Archived from the original on 13 June 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  24. ^ - Harvard and M.I.T. Team Up to Offer Free Online Courses (Tamar Lewin) Archived 2012-05-15 at the Wayback Machine, The Risks Digest Volume 26: Issue 81, 2012-05-04
  25. ^ "Thrun on the Udacity model". Archived from the original on 23 June 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  26. ^ [1] Archived 2013-09-21 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Core简介_中国开放教育资源联合体". Archived from the original on 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  28. ^ "English / China Quality Open Courseware_中国开放教育资源联合体". Archived from the original on 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  29. ^ CORE (2007). 2007 "Annual Report" Archived 2010-01-08 at the Wayback Machine. CORE. Retrieved on December 18, 2008.
  30. ^ a b Wang, F. (2008). "Open Education Resources—Concept, Status and Frontier" Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine. 22nd Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU). Tianjin, China. Retrieved on December 18, 2008.
  31. ^ CORE (2008) Open Education Conference 2008 held in April in Dalian, China Archived 2010-01-20 at the Wayback Machine. CORE. Retrieved on December 18, 2008.
  32. ^ "课程/开放课程/精品课程_中国开放教育资源联合体". 2013-09-21. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  33. ^ "教育部关于启动高等学校教学质量与教学改革工程精品课程建设工作的通知_教育部门户网站_MOE.GOV.CN" (in Chinese). 2003-04-14. Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  34. ^ "精品课程介绍 - 首页 - 国家精品课程资源网 - Home Page" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  35. ^ a b "网站维护中". Archived from the original on 15 August 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  36. ^ CAJ (2008) "Search for “精品课程” across all categories"[permanent dead link]. China Academic Journals. Retrieved on December 18, 2008.
  37. ^ Wang and Zhao, Chunyan and Guodong (2011). Open Educational Resources in the People's Republic of China: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects for Development (PDF). UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-01-07. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  38. ^ "当代文化研究". Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  39. ^ "国学网". Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  40. ^ "中国科学院文献情报中心机构知识库". Archived from the original on 2016-01-15. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  41. ^ "教育大发现社区 | social learning and open education". Archived from the original on 2016-01-10. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  42. ^ "最近更改 - SocialLearnLab". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  43. ^ "科学松鼠会 :: 让我们剥开科学的坚果". Archived from the original on 2020-08-05. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  44. ^ "Chinese Journal of Lung Cancer". Archived from the original on 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  45. ^ "教育部关于启动高等学校教学质量与教学改革工程精品课程建设工作的通知_教育部门户网站_MOE.GOV.CN". Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  46. ^ ""2003年度国家精品课程"名单". Archived from the original on 6 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  47. ^ "网站维护中". Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  48. ^ "全民终身学习课程平台 - 首页 - 精品课 - Home Page". Archived from the original on 2016-01-22. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  49. ^ "The Open Education Consortium | The Global Network for Open Education". Archived from the original on September 20, 2022. Retrieved Sep 16, 2022.
  50. ^ "Swayam Central". SWAYAM. Archived from the original on 22 January 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  51. ^ a b c Kobayashi, T. & Kawafuchi, A. (2006). "Japan Open Course Ware Consortium (JOCW): A Case Study in Open Educational Resources Production and Use in Higher Education" Archived 2012-05-13 at the Wayback Machine. OECD/CERI Report. Retrieved on December 18, 2008.
  52. ^ a b Makoshi, N. (2006). "TokyoTech OCW WG and Japan OCW Consortium" Archived 2012-05-13 at the Wayback Machine. Paper given to joint OECD/AIDE conference. Retrieved on December 19, 2008.
  53. ^ a b Kobayashi, T. & Kawafuchi, A. (2006). "Recent Moves in Promoting e-Learning in Japanese Higher Education with a Focus upon OER" Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine. Paper presented at European Association of Distance Teaching Universities, Tallinn, Estonia. Retrieved on December 18, 2008
  54. ^ "مکتب‌خونه". مکتب‌خونه. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  55. ^ 社團法人台灣開放式課程暨教育聯盟. "社團法人台灣開放式課程暨教育聯盟最新消息". Archived from the original on July 12, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  56. ^ "TU Delft: 1. About TU Delft OpenCourseWare". Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  57. ^ "Open CourseWare". 26 April 2015. Archived from the original on 6 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  58. ^ "American University of Sharjah". 2005-04-01. Archived from the original on 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2014-01-01.

External links[edit]