MIT Crowdfunding OpenCourseWare

If you’ve ever taken a free online course from MIT’s OpenCourseWare then you would know what it’s about. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s OpenCourseWare lets people study for free. The courses are from the university’s undergraduate and graduate-level syllabus. Assessments, assignments and course materials are open for free access. Dick K.P. Yue, Professor, MIT School of Engineering states, “The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.” This is the mission and vision of the OCW.

How Does the MIT OCW Operate?

The OCW operates through the help of donations and annual funding provided by donors. They believe in the value of the institute’s efforts to promote free education for all. The donation sustains the OCW and ensures that education is accessible. To date, the OCW has 2340 courses. There are video lectures, assignments and reading materials available for open access. Learners can even download all course materials for free.  Some web and programming courses have interactive demonstrations of activities along. Textbooks by MIT professors are also provided for free. The Institute relies on donations obtained through crowdfunding to maintain OCW operations.

What is the OpenCourseWare Model?

The Open Education Consortium is a global network of educational institutes and organizations. The network commits to promoting and providing open access to education. The network’s vision is to give free access to high-quality educational courses. Leading universities of the world pair up to deliver this mission.  There is no enrolment, no hidden fee charges, no sign-ups. Interested people can visit the institute’s website and study courses for free. The Consortium defines Open courseware as, ‘a free and open digital publication of high-quality college and university‐level educational materials. These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content. OpenCourseWare is free and openly licensed, accessible to anyone, anytime via the internet.’  The list of members in the global network consists of John Hopkins, MIT, University of California, University of Michigan.

OpenCourseWare Vs Normal Online Education

People often confuse the OCW with online platforms as Coursera or Edex. Leading universities offer their programs at a nominal cost on these platforms. They offer certifications and minor degree programs that students avail at a cost. OCW programs do not have certifications or enrolments. Learners visit the website and download course materials as needed. OCW courses do not have any credit hours and are not counted as actual courses to a program.

About MIT’s OpenCourseWare

MIT launched its OCW courses in 2011, after years of planning and development. The concept was first thought about in 1999, at the time when the internet boom was taking place. By 2002, the university launched the OCW site with 50 courses. By 2007, the university completed the publication of its virtual curriculum. It was one of the first universities to offer the public virtual education free of cost. In a decade, the OCW course list grew. There are now 2300 courses from 33 departments. The website has 200 million people from the world over taking courses for free.

What is the MIT Crowdfunding OCW?

MIT relies on donations obtained from donors and participants. It uses the crowdfunding model where appeals are made for donation. In crowdfunding, people donate any amount they can to the cause. There are even Thankyou-gifts called, ‘perks,’ for the people who generously donate. Annual fundraising of 2017, donors of the MIT’s OCW have set a new challenge. If a 1000 people give the donation, the OCW will receive $20,000 in donations.

Here’s how the challenge will unfold:

MIT has lead donors that support the program yearly. It’s only possible when there are enough donors to take part in the challenge. There are three levels of the participation that result in a certain donation amount. 500 people participating will give the OCW an extra $10,000. 750 people participating will get $15,000. Finally, 1,000 people participating will give the institute $20,000.

To donate to the OCW, you can visit the website and enter any amount you can contribute. You can also buy perks, provided by an anonymous supporter and MIT professors and range from $50 to $10,000. The perks are distributed according to the donation value. You can get stickers or postcards in $50, backpacks for $100. You can also get an umbrella for $200. And on $10,000 you get a chance to talk with J. Hoffman Former NASA Astronomer and MIT Professor. The perks show your support to the organization. Your support will help the organization sustain OCW mission and encourage publication. And also empower using new courses developed through latest technological tools.

OCW has supported thousands of professionals upgraded their skills and knowledge for free. For over ten years now, OCW has been inspiring hundreds of open access programs to deliver high-quality education. The aim is to provide a great education at zero cost. See the crowdfunding page here.

Farah tries to keep up with the fast-paced tech world by writing about it. She covers latest tech news and writes informative pieces to help her readers make informed decisions about their tech preferences.