CAMBRIDGE, MA, September 20, 2010 -- MIT OpenCourseWare and OpenStudy are are teaming up to help OCW users connect and study together. MIT has been publishing the core academic materials—including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and exams—from the Institute's courses since 2002, but since inception, the site has been a static presentation of MIT materials with no opportunity to interact with the MIT community or other users of the site.
Starting last month, however, a pilot of OpenStudy groups in association with three OCW courses has attracted thousands of OCW visitors. OpenStudy groups support real-time interaction between students and independent learners from around the world. OpenStudy members can answer one another's questions, work collaboratively on problem sets and connect with learners who share interests. The study groups are sponsored by MIT OpenCourseWare and OpenStudy, but are not moderated or facilitated directly by either organization.
Learner response to the initial set of study groups has been enthusiastic. A Turkish visitor wrote, "I have been always a self-learner and everyone knows MIT OCW is the best place for courses. I think OpenStudy completes the whole learning process by adding a missing level. What’s more, I like answering questions I can already solve because it makes me remember points I had forgotten.”
In just the first month of the pilot, the OpenStudy group for 6.00 Introduction to Computer Science has attracted more than 1,600 members, the 18.01 Single Variable Calculus (Fall 2006) group has nearly 1,400 members, and the group for 21F.101 Chinese I includes more than 430 participants.
Phil Hill, CEO of OpenStudy expressed his excitement at the learner response. "Our goal is to bring a more social learning experience to students on MIT OpenCourseWare by ensuring they don’t have to study alone. Seeing so many of them now working together from all corners of the globe is a great first step."
This week, the program was expanded to include seven more of OCW's most visited courses: 6.001 Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, 6.002 Circuits and Electronics, 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics, 8.02 Electricity and Magnetism, 18.02 Multivariable Calculus, 18.06 Linear Algebra, and 18.01 Single Variable Calculus (Fall 2005). Based on the response to the expanded slate of courses in the pilot, MIT and OpenStudy expect to continue expanding the program to support additional courses.
"We feel this represents an important new phase of our program's development," says Stephen Carson, MIT OpenCourseWare's External Relations Director. "These well-structured opportunities for learners to interact around our content magnify the value of our publication, especially for visitors with the most limited educational opportunities."
An OpenCourseWare is a free and open digital publication of high quality university-level educational materials – often including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, and exams – organized as courses. While OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiatives typically do not provide a degree, credit, or certification, or access to instructors, the materials are made available under open licenses for use and adaptation by educators and learners around the world.
OpenStudy is a social study network where students can ask questions, give help, collaborate and meet others. Founded by professors and students from Georgia Tech and Emory University, and funded by the National Science Foundation and the Georgia Research Alliance, OpenStudy believes that students can teach other students through collaborative learning. Unlike other closed learning networks, OpenStudy believes in making the world one large study group where students can work together in a single place regardless of their school, country or background.
MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of substantially all of MIT's undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,000 in allavailable on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 1.5 million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 65 million visitors have accessed the free MIT educational materials on the site or in translation.