MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) is a remarkable story of an institution rallying around an ideal, and then delivering on the promise of that ideal. It is an ideal that flows from the MIT Faculty's passionate belief in the MIT mission, based on the conviction that the open dissemination of knowledge and information can open new doors to the powerful benefits of education for humanity around the world.
In 1999, MIT Provost Robert A. Brown asked a committee of MIT faculty, students, and administrators to provide strategic guidance on how MIT should position itself in the distance/e-learning environment. The resulting recommendation -- the idea of MIT OCW -- is in line with MIT's mission (to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century) and is true to MIT's values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.
Today, MIT OCW is a large-scale, Web-based publication of the educational materials from the MIT faculty's courses. This unique initiative enables the open sharing of the MIT faculty's teaching materials with educators, enrolled students, and self-learners around the world. MIT OCW provides users with open access to the syllabi, lecture notes, course calendars, problem sets and solutions, exams, reading lists, even a selection of video lectures, from 1,100 MIT courses representing 34 academic disciplines and all five of MIT's schools. The initiative will include materials from 1800 courses by the year 2007.
Many people have contributed to the early success of the MIT OCW initiative, including the MIT OCW staff, our two advisory boards, and our many partners -- those here on MIT's campus and consultants off campus.
But most importantly, MIT OCW could not have published these courses, and will not succeed long-term, without the support of MIT's world-class faculty. Their remarkable dedication to education and MIT's mission is what will sustain MIT OCW long-term.