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» Evaluation » Newsletter » Profiles » World Reaction

Discover how MIT OCW measures success

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Through the MIT OpenCourseWare initiative, MIT makes its faculty's core teaching materials openly available for anyone, anywhere in the world with access to the Internet. We have found that, with 1550 of MIT's classes available, the project is helping those it was designed to help - educators, enrolled students, and self-learners around the world - by providing a high-quality publication of MIT's core teaching materials.

What difference does it make? The MIT OCW evaluation team studies how individuals' teaching and learning experiences change through the use of the site, and we also want to understand what broader effects MIT OCW may have. Results have shown that:

  • 95% of users report MIT OCW has or will help them to be more productive and effective
  • 46% of educators have adopted MIT OCW content to improve their own teaching
  • 38% of students use MIT OCW materials to complement a course they are taking; 34% use MIT OCW to learn about subjects outside of formal classes
  • 56% of self-learners use MIT OCW to enhance personal knowledge; 16% use MIT OCW to stay current in their chosen field
  • 96% of all users would recommend MIT OCW to others

And we have also found that MIT OCW is having a significant impact on teaching and learning at MIT:

  • 35% of Fall 2005 entering freshmen aware of MIT OCW prior to attending MIT indicate the site was a significant or very significant influence on their choice of school
  • 71% of all MIT students (undergraduate and graduate) make use of MIT OCW in their research and studies
  • 96% of MIT students using the MIT OCW site report it has had a positive or extremely positive impact on their student experience
  • 40% of MIT faculty using MIT OCW report that the site is a helpful tool in revising/updating courses; 38% use the site for advising students

In measuring long-term success, we find that the challenge for MIT and for educational institutions across our society lay in the second half of MIT OCW's organizational mission: will other like-minded institutions begin to publish their educational materials freely and openly online? There are now more than 100 other institutions around the world openly publishing their educational materials in “opencourseware” environments. And the hope is that one day, by sharing MIT's course materials, along with our experience thus far in developing the MIT OCW publication process, we will inspire other institutions to openly share their course materials, creating a worldwide web of knowledge that will benefit humanity.


History has proved that education and discovery are best advanced when knowledge is shared openly. We believe the idea of opencourseware is an opportunity that leading institutions around the world must seize during the next decade.


Captain Kevin Gannon, educator and self-learner in the USN. 

“OCW courses include documents on the problems and prospects of a changing organizational world, and models of organizational change. We’ve used this in our discussion and teaching here. OCW has definitely accelerated our ability to train.”

— Captain Kevin Gannon, educator and self-learner in the United States Navy.

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