Thursday, August 19, 2010

Acronym in open source technology and publishing: OCW for OpenCourseWare

OCW is short for OpenCourseWare, a term expressing academic content that has been used in teaching and made available by open access via the World Wide Web. Such freely available course materials support virtual learning—educating anyone with Internet access anywhere in the world depending on his or her interest and current level of knowledge. The Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT) provides a large collection of OCW, available at Partner organizations have translated many courses in five other languages [1]. The MIT OCW also includes audio/video courses.

MIT was instrumental in establishing the OCW Consortium and guiding early collaboration efforts as an informal alliance. The Consortium ( became independent in 2009 . OCW content is published under a Creative Commons V3.0 license ( Creative Commons launched the Science Commons in 2005 to achieve for science what already had bee achieved for culture, art, and educational material: “to ease unnecessary legal and technical barriers to sharing, to promote innovation, to provide easy, high quality tools that let individuals and organizations specify the terms under which they wished to share their material.” [2]

Keywords: virtual education, public lectures, teaching globally, open source, licensing

[1] C. d'Oliveira, S. Carson, K. James, L. Lazarus: MIT OpenCourseWare: Unlocking Knowledge, Empowering Minds. Science 30. July 2010, 329 (5991), pp. 525-526.
[2] J. Wilbanks and J. Boyle: Introduction to Science Commons. August 3, 2006. Available as PDF file at

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