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THE OPENCOURSEWARE AND OCW SITE CONCEPT

The OpenCourseWare concept

OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a large-scale electronic publishing initiative, which started in April 2001, based on the Internet and funded jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Its basic objective is:

1. To provide free, simple and coherent access to course material for teaching staff in the not-for-profit sector, students and self-educators all around the world.

The success of this purpose has made it possible to meet a second objective:

2. To create a flexible movement based on an efficient model which other universities can emulate when publishing their own teaching material, creating synergies and spaces for collaboration.


What is an OCW site?

A web space which contains teaching material created by higher education staff.
This material is a collection of resources (documents, programmes, schedule, ....) used in the teaching-learning process for the subjects taught by these staff.
It is offered freely and is universally accessible on the net.
It is not limited by intellectual property issues.
It can be used, re-used, adapted and distributed by others, with certain restrictions.



What is an OCW site NOT?

It is NOT a distance learning service and therefore does not authorise nor offer the possibility of accessing the teaching staff / authors of the material, nor does it offer the possibility of earning any credits or qualification from the Institution in question.

An OCW site does not therefore provide forums or message boards, emails or any other form of communication between staff and students.



Material published on an OCW site

There are two levels of re-use:

a) Structured and combined, all these comprise a proposal for study in the context of a full subject. For this reason it is suggested to include not only the study documents but the whole collection of materials used by a teacher or student for a course: Programme, Timetable, teaching guide, proposed activities,…

b) Individually, each study document includes metadata and is packaged as a “learning object” in order to form part of other “digital libraries” and to be reused in other contexts.

Example subjects

Subject 6061 - 6063

Numeric Electronics

Guided Wave Circuit Theory