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MIT OCW Help

MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) offers the following introductory answers to Frequently Asked Questions about how visitors to the site can make use of MIT OCW course materials, what technology we use to publish the MIT OCW site, and 46 other common inquiries we receive. Click on a subject heading below to view questions and answers relating to your selection.

Links throughout the answers will guide you to further information on our Web site, or from other sources. Should you have any further questions, please send us a message through our Feedback Form.

About MIT OCW

  1. What is MIT OpenCourseWare?
  2. Why is MIT doing this?
  3. How does MIT OCW differ from other types of Web-based education, including distance learning?
  4. What are the long-term goals of the MIT OCW initiative?
  5. Will MIT OCW always be free and openly available to anyone in the world?

Using MIT OCW Materials

  1. How do I register to use MIT OCW course materials?
  2. Where are the course materials?
  3. How do I find what courses are available?
  4. How is MIT organized academically?
  5. How can I use MIT OCW course materials?
  6. What are the prerequisites to use MIT OCW materials?
  7. Does MIT OCW offer discounts on textbooks or software applications utilized in the course materials?
  8. How do I get a copy of the course pack for a particular course?
  9. Does MIT OCW offer any users access to learning communities or discussion groups around its educational content?
  10. I have seen (or I am/represent) an individual, organization, or institution that offers to teach MIT courses or tutor students based on MIT materials. Does MIT approve or recognize such individuals or organizations?
  11. Can I/my organization state on our Web site or in our literature that we make use of MIT OCW course materials?
  12. Can I link to the MIT OCW Web site from my Web site?

Content

  1. Why is there such variation in the breadth and depth of content presented on individual MIT OCW course Web sites?
  2. Why do some MIT OCW course sites lack solutions to assignments, quizzes, and exams?
  3. Why doesn't every MIT OCW course offer video lectures?
  4. How can I extract text and other information from a PDF file?

Intellectual Property

  1. Who owns the intellectual property published on the MIT OCW Web site?
  2. What are the requirements of use for MIT OCW users?
  3. How does MIT define non-commercial use?
  4. How do I properly cite my reuse of MIT OCW materials?
  5. How can I contribute my own educational materials to the MIT OCW?

MIT Faculty

  1. Are MIT faculty required to participate in MIT OCW?
  2. How do I contact a specific member of the MIT Faculty?
  3. Will inquiries to MIT OCW be answered?

Technology

  1. What technology is used to publish the MIT OCW Web site?
  2. Is it possible to save the RealPlayer video files to a disk or to my hard drive?
  3. Is MIT OCW an open-source project?
  4. Are there other experiments in educational technology at MIT?

Translations

  1. Is it within the MIT OCW use license to translate the course materials into non-English languages?

Usability

  1. What are the technical requirements for viewing MIT OCW course materials?
  2. What is metadata and why is it important to MIT OCW?
  3. How do I change the font-size on the MIT OCW Web site?
  4. Will the MIT OCW Web site be compliant with W3C standards and accessibility requirements?
  5. What information does MIT OCW collect from visitors to the Web site?
  6. What are "cookies," and does MIT OCW make use of cookies on its Web site?
  7. Does MIT OCW share the information it receives?
  8. Why does this PDF not open correctly in my Acrobat 4.0/Acrobat 5.0 Reader?

Other Questions

  1. How can I support MIT OpenCourseWare with a financial donation?
  2. How do I apply for admission to MIT as a student?
  3. How do I apply for admission to the MIT Sloan School of Management as a student?
  4. How do I apply for a job at MIT OCW?

1. What is MIT OpenCourseWare?
The idea behind MIT OCW is to make the courses materials that are used in the teaching of almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT available on the Web, free of charge, to any user, anywhere in the world. This venture continues the tradition at MIT, and in American higher education, of open dissemination of educational materials, philosophy, and modes of thought. Educators in the U.S. and the developing world utilize the materials for curriculum development, while students and self-learners around the globe draw upon the materials for self-study or supplementary use. With virtually all courses now available, MIT OCW is delivering on the promise of open sharing of knowledge.

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2. Why is MIT doing this?
In 1999, MIT Provost Robert A. Brown asked an MIT faculty committee 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. MIT OCW contributes to the "shared intellectual commons" in academia, which fosters collaboration across MIT and among other scholars across disciplines and around the world.

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3. How does MIT OCW differ from other types of Web-based education, including distance learning?
MIT OCW differs from other institutional Web-based education offerings in that it is free and open, because of its depth and breadth, and because it takes an institutional approach to online course publication.

MIT OCW is not a distance-education or degree-granting initiative. Distance education involves the active exchange of information between faculty and students, with the goal of obtaining some form of a credential. MIT OCW is not meant to replace degree-granting higher education or for-credit courses. Rather, the goal is to provide the content that supports an education.

Many individual faculty members at MIT and other universities already use the Web extensively to make standard course materials available to their students. Some colleges and universities now require a Web site for every class. But, to a large extent, these Web sites are designed for, and access is only provided to, the students enrolled at these institutions. MIT OCW is an unprecedented institutional effort of a much broader magnitude, as the goal is to provide the course materials free and open to the world. With 1400 course Web sites now offered by MIT OCW, nothing of this scale has ever been attempted before.

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4. What are the long-term goals of the MIT OCW initiative?
MIT OCW is a new electronic publishing model for educational materials enabled by Internet technologies. While MIT OCW's published content already provides value to users, over the next five to 10 years, the published content, technology, and processes will become increasingly more robust. MIT OCW is built on a single, searchable organizing structure with technology that is scalable to include virtually of all MIT's graduate- and undergraduate-level courses. These courses include uniform metadata about the contents.

We expect MIT OCW to reach a steady—though never static—state by 2008. Between now and then we will be publishing 400 more MIT courses, updating existing courses, conducting continuous vigorous evaluation of the program's success, and enhancing our content management and publishing technologies.

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5. Will MIT OCW always be free and openly available to anyone in the world?
Yes, MIT is committed to MIT OCW remaining a free and openly available publication of the course materials that support the dynamic classroom interactions of an MIT education. Even as we continue to grow and evolve, the materials will always remain free and open to all. Along with this commitment to remaining free and open, MIT OCW is also committed to the idea that MIT OCW is not a distance-learning, credit bearing, or degree-granting initiative, and that there will not be a registration process required for users to view course materials now or in the future.

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6. How do I register to use MIT OCW course materials?
Because MIT OCW is not a credit-bearing, or degree-granting, initiative, there is no registration process or enrollment required for users to view course materials. MIT OCW is a publication of the course materials that support the dynamic classroom interactions of an MIT education. MIT OCW is available on the Web, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world.

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7. Where are the course materials?
MIT OCW currently offers the course materials from virtually all MIT graduate and undergraduate courses. To find what courses are available at this time, view the complete course list. Once you have accessed a particular course site, the left-hand navigation bar of each course homepage will detail what materials are available for that individual course. All users are encouraged to subscribe to the "MIT OpenCourseWare Update" email newsletter, which provides monthly updates on MIT OCW and explains how users can make better use of the available course materials.

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8. How do I find what courses are available?
MIT OCW offers the educational materials from virtually all MIT courses. There are three ways to access the materials: Utilize the Search function that can be found in the left-hand corner of every page on the MIT OCW site. Search for specific text, such as certain academic discipline area, across all courses or within just one course. To perform a detailed search, use our Advanced Search.

A second way to see what courses are available is to click on Course List  that is listed in the top right-corner navigation of every page on the MIT OCW Web site. This will allow you to view the list of every available course, grouped into 34 departments.

Or, view the courses currently available grouped by MIT department. The departments that have MIT OCW course sites available are listed in the left-hand navigation bar of the MIT OCW homepage. An example would be the MIT Department of Mathematics. Click on the Mathematics link in the left navigation bar on the MIT OCW homepage, and you will go to the department homepage, which includes a complete list of MIT mathematics courses offered, along with a brief description of the department and its curriculum goals.

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9. How is MIT organized academically?
At MIT departments and other academic disciplines are commonly referred to as "courses" and are named by their corresponding numbers—for instance, students typically do not say they major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Rather, they typically say, "I am in Course 6." That is why you will see numerical references throughout the MIT OCW course sites for both academic departments and course offerings. However, some academic disciplines, such as Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) from the MIT School of Architecture, have letter acronyms instead of numbers. MIT faculty, students, and staff frequently use a number of different acronyms to refer to academic disciplines, departments, buildings, and other facets of life at MIT. Discover more MIT acronyms. This acronym and abbreviation dictionary is an attempt to help members of the MIT community, and visitors alike, decipher the "alphabet soup" of terms used at MIT.

Throughout the MIT OCW Web site, and on the MIT Course Catalog, MIT's 34 departments are referred to by the following numbers or acronyms:

  • Aeronautics and Astronautics - 16
  • Anthropology - 21A
  • Architecture - 4
  • Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER) - PE
  • Biological Engineering Division - 20
  • Biology - 7
  • Brain and Cognitive Sciences - 9
  • Chemical Engineering - 10
  • Chemistry - 5
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering - 1
  • Comparative Media Studies - CMS
  • Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences - 12
  • Economics - 14
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science - 6
  • Engineering Systems Division - ESD
  • Experimental Study Group - ESG
  • Foreign Languages and Literatures - 21F
  • Health Sciences and Technology - HST
  • History - 21H
  • Linguistics and Philosophy - 24
  • Literature - 21L
  • Materials Science and Engineering - 3
  • Mathematics - 18
  • Mechanical Engineering - 2
  • Media Arts and Sciences - MAS
  • Music and Theater Arts - 21M
  • Nuclear Engineering - 22
  • Physics - 8
  • Political Science - 17
  • Science, Technology, and Society - STS
  • Sloan School of Management - 15
  • Special Programs - SP
  • Urban Studies and Planning - 11
  • Women's Studies - WMN
  • Writing and Humanistic Studies - 21W

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10. How can I use MIT OCW course materials?
MIT OCW is a large-scale, Web-based publication of the course materials that support an MIT education. Educators are encouraged to utilize the materials for curriculum development, students can augment their current learning by making use of the materials offered, and self-learners are able to draw upon the MIT OCW materials for self-study or supplementary use. Course materials offered on the MIT OCW Web site may be used, copied, distributed, translated, and modified, but only for non-commercial, not-for-profit educational purposes that are made freely available to other users under the same terms defined by the MIT OCW legal notice.

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11. What are the prerequisites to use MIT OCW materials?
Because MIT OCW is not a distance-learning, credit bearing, or degree-granting initiative, there is no registration process required for users to view course materials. There are also no prerequisites for users who utilize MIT OCW course materials in their own learning. To read more about the MIT curriculum, please visit the MIT Curriculum  page on the MIT OCW Web site. If you would like to read about the prerequisites that MIT students must have completed before taking individual courses, please visit the online MIT Course Catalog.

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12. Does MIT OCW offer discounts on textbooks or software applications utilized in the course materials?
Each MIT OCW course Web includes as much of the MIT faculty member's course materials as are available in a digital format, or can be cost-effectively prepared; and is free of Intellectual Property and copyright restrictions. While often the textbook or readings are referred to in the course materials, MIT OCW does not own the Intellectual Property rights to those textbooks, and thus, we cannot publish them openly on the MIT OCW Web site. Where possible we have provided complete citations of all readings and textbooks referenced in the course materials.

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13. How do I get a copy of the course pack for a particular MIT course?
The course-pack materials that accompany most MIT courses often contain proprietary information and copyrighted materials that MIT Faculty only use in their classroom interactions with MIT students. We cannot, therefore, make these materials openly available to MIT OCW users. If you are willing to pay for a course pack, you may contact MIT's Copy Technology Center, the group on campus that publishes course packs. Read more about the MIT course pack program .

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14.  Does MIT OCW offer any users access to learning communities or discussion groups around its educational content?
Partnering with the  Center for Open Sustainable Learning Opportunities at Utah State University , MIT OCW offers a collection of Discussion Groups where MIT OCW users can interact with each other around MIT OCW course content. More than 400 MIT OCW courses offer links to learning communities where individuals around the world can connect with each other, collaborate, form study groups, and receive support for their use of MIT OCW materials in formal and informal educational settings. These links appear in the left-hand navigation of the courses that offer them.
This joint MIT OCW/Utah State University research project, called Open Learning Support (OLS) is focused on building “social software” that enables informal learning communities to form around existing open educational content.

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15. I have seen (or I am/represent) an individual, organization, or institution that offers to teach MIT courses or tutor students based on MIT materials. Does MIT approve or recognize such individuals or organizations?
No, MIT has no relationship with, grants no special permission to, and does not approve, endorse, or certify any organizations, teachers, tutors, or other service providers who use educational materials available on the MIT OCW Web site in connection with their services. Except for students admitted to MIT and enrolled at the Institute, MIT does not authorize the granting of any kind of degree, certificate, or other recognition for participation in or completion of any course of study based on or using published MIT course materials.

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16 .  Can I/my organization state on our Web site or in our literature that we make use of MIT OCW course materials?
In accordance with the terms of the MIT OCW Creative Commons license, you must give credit to MIT and the faculty author of the course materials anytime you use MIT OCW materials. However, any reference to MIT (including the MIT name in any of its forms or MIT seals or logos) that deliberately or inadvertently claims, suggests, or in MIT's sole judgment gives the appearance or impression of a relationship with or endorsement by MIT, is prohibited.

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17.  Can I link to the MIT OCW Web site from my Web site?
Links to MIT OCW or to courses or pages within the MIT OCW Web site are permitted so long as the use of the materials associated with the link is permitted under the terms of the MIT OCW Creative Commons license the link is freely accessible (e.g., no restrictions or fee for access); and there is no claim, appearance, or implication of an affiliation with or endorsement by MIT. MIT OCW cannot guarantee the persistence of any specific link other than those to the MIT OCW homepage.

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18. Why is there such variation in the breadth and depth of content presented on individual MIT OCW course Web sites?
Each MIT OCW course Web site is developed individually with the participating faculty and instructors. It includes as much of the MIT faculty member's course materials as are available in a digital format, or can be cost-effectively prepared; and is free of Intellectual Property and copyright restrictions. MIT faculty and instructors publish only as much content as they are comfortable having on a Web site that is freely accessible worldwide. There are different reasons why a course on the MIT OCW Web site may be missing certain materials. One of the primary reasons is intellectual property: because MIT OCW is a free and open publication on the Web, we have very strict criteria for what we can and cannot publish on our site. For all published materials, we must receive publication permission from the original author of the materials, whether they be MIT faculty, MIT students, or a third-party content provider. Materials we cannot obtain permission for are not published. Therefore, the materials for some courses are limited by copyright and intellectual property. The hope is that one day, by fostering the open sharing of knowledge and the free publication of educational materials on the Web, more and more content providers will see the value of open sharing and will grant us permission to publish their proprietary materials on a more regular basis. Another limitation on publication stems from the way the course itself is taught. Some courses are based more on hands-on research than on standard lectures or class recitations. While lab descriptions may be available for such courses, it is not the intention of MIT OCW to reproduce the interactive MIT research experience through the MIT OCW Web site. The research that happens at MIT is part of the rich experience that is gained as part of an actual MIT education and MIT OCW does not represent itself as a distance-learning or e-learning initiative.

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19. Why do some MIT OCW course sites lack solutions to assignments, quizzes, and exams?
In some cases, solutions to homework assignments, quizzes, and exams are only discussed and presented in the classroom, and not made available in print or electronic format to the MIT students—or to the worldwide community of visitors to the MIT OCW Web site. In other cases, the instructors plan to re-use in their MIT classroom the assignments, quizzes, and exams, and so they do not wish to widely publish their solutions.

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20. Why doesn't every MIT OCW course offer video lectures?
Each MIT OCW course Web site is developed individually with the participating faculty and instructors. It includes as much of the MIT faculty member's course materials as is available in a digital format, or can be cost-effectively prepared; and is free of Intellectual Property and copyright restrictions. MIT faculty and instructors publish only as much content as they are comfortable having on a Web site that is freely accessible worldwide.

MIT OpenCourseWare is a large scale web publishing initiative whose charge from the MIT faculty is to make the core teaching materials—including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and exams—from all 1,800 MIT classes freely and openly available on the web.  The materials support a wide range of uses by educators and students at other institutions in addition to providing a resource for independent learning.  Educators use our materials to design courses and programs at their institutions and adopt the course materials for use in their classrooms; students use our site to supplement to materials they receive at their institutions and to study beyond the bounds of their chosen discipline.  Our text-based resources support these uses very effectively, in many cases more effectively than video content would (see /OcwWeb/Global/AboutOCW/evaluation.htm  for more information).


We do recognize the value of video to independent learning.  Where possible, we have included pre-existing video in our publication, and we continue to invest in video recordings of foundational courses.  MIT OCW currently has more than 25 courses with full video lectures and over 1,000 hours of video in total. We plan to continue adding a limited number of full video courses to our publication each year. Video, however, remains a supplement to our mission of publishing and updating core teaching materials.  Video is among the most costly types of content to produce and distribute, and including more video would impact the depth and currency of the publication, affecting the many other ways visitors use our site.  Over time, the balance of costs and benefits may shift with respect to video, allowing for the inclusion of more.  At present our focus remains on making the courseware used in all 1,800 classes—our entire curriculum—openly available as a resource to educators and learners around the world.

A key MIT OCW audience is educators, and for them, we are hoping that by providing the syllabus, reading lists and lecture notes, we are offering a chance for them to jumpstart their own pedagogy and improve the way they teach their chosen discipline. While the video lectures for "Course 18.06 — Linear Algebra, Spring 2005," for example, are very easy for people with fast Internet connections to watch, they do not fulfill the mission of MIT OCW.

To see all of the MIT OCW courses that offer complete video lectures, visit the Video and Audio on MIT OCW  page.

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21. How can I extract text and other information from a PDF file?
Much of the content on the MIT OCW Web site is published in Portable Document Format (PDF) format. Adobe® PDF is the published specification used by standards bodies around the world for more secure, reliable electronic document distribution and exchange. PDF files look exactly like original documents and preserve the fonts, images, graphics, and layout of any source file—regardless of the application and platform used to create it. They can be shared, viewed and printed by anyone, on any system, using free Adobe Reader® software - regardless of the operating system, original application, or fonts. PDFs have full text search features for locating words, bookmarks, and data fields in documents, and MIT OCW content within a PDF file can be extracted and manipulated for use in other document formats.

Detailed instructions for manipulating PDF files is contained in this (PDF).

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22. Who owns the intellectual property published on the MIT OCW Web site?
Prior to making any course materials publicly available, the MIT OCW team has reviewed all material extensively to determine the correct ownership of the material and obtain the appropriate licenses to make the material openly available on the Web. We will promptly remove any material that is determined to be infringing on the rights of others. If you believe that a portion of MIT OCW materials infringes another's copyright, please notify MIT OCW by email. The intellectual property policies created for MIT OCW are clear and consistent with other policies for scholarly materials used in education. Faculty retain ownership of most materials prepared for MIT OCW, following the MIT policy on textbook authorship. MIT retains ownership only when significant use has been made of the Institute's resources. If student course work is placed on the MIT OCW site, then copyright in the work remains with the student.

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23. What are the requirements of use for MIT OCW users?
The underlying premise and purpose of MIT OCW is to make course materials used in MIT courses freely and openly available to others for non-commercial educational purposes. Through MIT OCW, MIT grants the right to anyone to use the materials, either "as is," or in a modified form. There is no restriction on how a user can modify the materials for the user's purpose. Materials may be edited, translated, combined with someone else's materials, reformatted, or changed in any other way. However, there are three requirements that an MIT OCW user must meet to use the materials:

  1. Non-commercial: Use of MIT OCW materials is open to all except for profit-making entities who charge a fee for access to educational materials.
  2. Attribution: Any and all use or reuse of the material, including use of derivative works (new materials that incorporate or draw on the original materials), must be attributed to MIT and, if a faculty member's name is associated with the material, to that person as well.
  3. Share alike (aka "copyleft"): Any publication or distribution of original or derivative works, including production of electronic or printed class materials or placement of materials on a Web site, must offer the works freely and openly to others under the same terms that MIT OCW first made the works available to the user.

Please refer to the MIT OCW Legal Notices page for our specific licensing terms and conditions. If you would like to use MIT OCW course materials, but you are unsure whether your intended use qualifies as non-commercial use, please contact MIT OCW at ocw@mit.edu .

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24. How does MIT define non-commercial use?

Non-commercial use means that users may not sell, profit from, or commercialize OCW materials or works derived from them.  That said, we have found that there are certain “gray areas” in interpreting the non-commercial provision of OCW’s Creative Commons license.  The guidelines below are intended to help users determine whether or not their use of OCW materials would be permitted under the “non-commercial” restriction.  Note that there are additional requirements (attribution and share alike) spelled out in our license.

  1. Commercialization is prohibited.  Users may not directly sell or profit from OCW materials or from works derived from OCW materials.

    Example: A commercial education or training business may not offer courses based on OCW materials if students pay a fee for those courses and the business intends to profit as a result.

  2. Determination of commercial vs. non-commercial purpose is based on the use, not the user.  Materials may be used by individuals, institutions, governments, corporations, or other business whether for-profit or non-profit so long as the use itself is not a commercialization of the materials or a use that is directly intended to generate sales or profit.

    Example: A corporation may use OCW materials for internal professional development and training purposes.

  3. Incidental charges to recover reasonable reproduction costs may be permitted.  Recovery of nominal actual costs for copying small amounts (under 1000 copies) of OCW content on paper or CDs is allowed for educational purposes so long as there is no profit motive and so long as the intended use of the copies is in compliance with all license terms.  Students must be informed that the materials are freely available on the OCW web site and that their purchase of copied materials is optional.

    Example: An institution in a remote area has limited Internet access and limited network infrastructure on campus, and a professor offers to create CDs of OCW materials relevant to her course.  The professor may recover the costs of creating the CDs.

    If you have questions about acceptable use of OCW materials, please send us feedback

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25. How do I properly cite my reuse of MIT OCW materials?
If you choose to reuse or repost MIT OCW materials you must give proper attribution to the original MIT faculty author(s). Please utilize the following citation "This material was created by or adapted from material created by MIT faculty member, (Name), (Title), (Year). Copyright © (Year) (Faculty Member's Name)."

As an example, the citation for "Course 18.06 Linear Algebra, Spring 2005" taught by MIT Professor Gilbert Strang would read, "This material was created or adapted from material created by MIT faculty member Gilbert Strang, Professor. Copyright © 2005 Gilbert Strang."

If you want to use the materials on your Web site, you must also include a copy of the MIT OCW Creative Commons license, or clear and reasonable link to its URL (/OcwWeb/Global/terms-of-use.htm), with every copy of the MIT materials or the derivative work you create from it.

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26. How can I contribute my own educational materials to MIT OCW?

The intent of MIT OCW is that our Web site should reflect the course materials for what is being taught at MIT. The reason for this policy is that the materials presented on the MIT OCW site are authored by members of the MIT Faculty, and thus, our faculty will take final responsibility for these materials. It would be difficult for MIT OCW to guarantee the accuracy and originality of materials we received from outside sources. However, we encourage other universities to create their own "opencourseware" in which materials from their courses would be posted online and openly shared with the world. MIT OCW is eager to link to other universities or institutions that have similar goals. For more information about how your institution can openly publish its course materials in an OpenCourseWare environment, please visit the Web site of the OpenCourseWare Consortium.

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27. Are MIT faculty required to participate in MIT OCW?
Participation of MIT faculty in MIT OCW is voluntary, although judging by the number of MIT's faculty who already have published courses on MIT OCW, we expect that virtually all MIT courses will be available on the MIT OCW Web site by the end of 2008. Professional Web design and production resources are available to MIT faculty to develop and maintain the MIT OCW course sites. MIT is committed to the long-term support of the MIT OCW educational environment.

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28. How do I contact a specific member of the MIT Faculty?
MIT OCW is intended as a publication of MIT course materials on the Web, and not as an interactive experience with MIT faculty. It provides the content of, but is not a substitute for, an MIT education. The most fundamental cornerstone of the learning process at MIT is the interaction between faculty and students in the classroom, and among students themselves on campus. MIT OCW does not offer visitors to the Web site the opportunity for direct contact with MIT faculty. Inquiries related to specific course materials will be forwarded to the MIT faculty member associated with that course for their consideration. However, due to the tremendous volume of email inquiries received, it is unlikely he or she will answer all emails.

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29. Will inquiries to MIT OCW be answered?
Yes, MIT OCW encourages users to provide feedback on the Web site and the published course materials. The comments and constructive criticism of users will help the MIT OCW staff improve the site and published course materials as MIT OCW continues to evolve. Send us feedback through the MIT OCW Feedback Form.

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30. What technology is used to publish the MIT OCW Web site?
The MIT OCW technology solution supports a complex publishing process. This is a large-scale digital publishing infrastructure that consists of planning tools, a content management system (CMS), and the MIT OCW content distribution infrastructure. The current technical solution has been in use since April 2003 with a technical support team managing all aspects of this infrastructure.

The planning tools used by the MIT OCW team to assist faculty in publishing their course materials include a custom application of FileMaker Pro, and several checklists and documents. For creating and managing content, we use several desktop tools (file conversion tools) as well as the CMS, a customized version of Microsoft Content Management Server 2002 that supports our publishing process. Our content delivery infrastructure includes a sophisticated publishing engine, content staging server, and a content delivery network utilizing Akamai's EdgeSuite platform.

For more information on the MIT OCW publishing environment or technology, please contact MIT OCW at ocw@mit.edu .

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31. Is it possible to save the RealPlayer video files to a disk or to my hard drive?
Most of the video that MIT OCW provides is in a Real Video format delivered through streaming servers. Our goal in providing video in this format (in multiple bit rates) is to enable users with a variety of Internet connections to sample MIT OCW video offerings with a common browser plug-in without having to download large media files. However, users with slow connections will not enjoy a quality video experience.

You will find that you can download our streaming video file if you prefer to play these files off-line. MIT OCW video files stored on the Akamai network will have URLs that look something like this:

/OCWExternal/Akamai/18/18.06/videolectures/strang-1806-lec01-26aug1999-220k.rm

If you want to download this file and play it off-line, use the following URL -- the only difference is in the first part of the URL:

/OCWExternal/Akamai/18/18.06/videolectures/strang-1806-lec01-26aug1999-220k.rm

You are ONLY changing the first part of the URL:
http://mfile.akamai.com/7870/rm/mitstorage.download.akamai.com/7870
becomes
/ans7870

do NOT change the filename, textcase, or anything else in the URL.

Other Examples:

/OCWExternal/Akamai/1/1.72/f04/video/Advective-mass-transfer-80k.rm
becomes
/OCWExternal/Akamai/1/1.72/f04/video/Advective-mass-transfer-80k.rm

/OCWExternal/Akamai/21f/21f.714/s03/projects/21f.714-alumnos-opinan-Conquista-220k.rm
becomes
/OCWExternal/Akamai/21f/21f.714/s03/projects/21f.714-alumnos-opinan-Conquista-220k.rm

On many browsers the download program will prompt you for a local directory in which to download the file; with Microsoft Internet Explorer, it will automatically download the file to the "Temporary Internet Files" directory. This directory can typically be found at "c\Documents and Settings\[your username]\Local Settings\" You can also change or view this folder from the Tools...Internet Options... Menu bar.  Select the "Settings" button in the Temporary Internet Files section.

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32. Is MIT OCW an open-source project?
MIT OCW is committed to open systems and will share its approach with those who may want to launch similar efforts. To publish the MIT OCW Web site, we use a customized version of Microsoft Content Management Server 2002. Many ask why we went with a commercial option for our CMS. Due to the size of our Web site, and the speed at which we were committed to publishing our courses, our development team chose the Microsoft product. Microsoft made a serious commitment to the MIT OCW project, the total cost of ownership of Microsoft CMS 2002 was significantly lower than the other vendors in consideration, and the Microsoft product offered a high-level of usability for the end-users, MIT faculty and MIT OCW staff.

For other institutions considering implementing their own “opencourseware” several open source software components have been widely adopted (e.g.: LinuxApachePerlPHPMySQL, etc.). Members of the MIT OCW team monitor the current state of open-source solutions for content management and Web publishing. A number of Web sites with a need for content management are using Plone, and open-source content management system on top of the Zope application server, both of which use a language called Python. Plone Web sites include Rice Connexions, an open-source educational content project at Rice University in Houston, TX, and EduCommons, an open-source content management system developed by the Center for Open Sustainable Learning at Utah State University specifically for publishing OCW-type projects.

For more information about how your institution can openly publish its course materials in an OpenCourseWare environment, please visit the Web site of the OpenCourseWare Consortium.

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33. Are there other initiatives focused on educational technology at MIT?
MIT is undertaking a number of ambitious projects to enhance and potentially transform the educational experience through the use of new technologies. These projects are stimulated and supported by the MIT Council on Educational Technology, by Project iCampus, a collaboration between MIT and Microsoft Research, and by the Alex and Brit d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in MIT Education. MIT is also engaged in several collaborative and distance-learning projects around the world. In the future the technologies that are being developed to support these efforts may also be utilized to enhance MIT OCW materials. Some of these projects include StudioMIT, the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA), MIT's System Design and Management Program (SDM), and the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI).

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34. Is it within the MIT OCW use license to translate the course materials?
Since September 2002, when the MIT OCW pilot phase opened to the public, we know that MIT course materials have been translated into at least 10 languages, including French, German, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian.
MIT asks that any MIT OCW materials translated into other languages from the original English must be accompanied by the following disclaimer: "These MIT OpenCourseWare course materials have been translated into [YOUR LANGUAGE] by [YOUR INSTITUTION]. The MIT faculty authors, MIT, or MIT OpenCourseWare have not reviewed or approved these translations, and MIT and MIT OpenCourseWare makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the translated materials, express or implied, including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, or the absence of errors, whether or not discoverable. MIT OpenCourseWare bears no responsibility for any inaccuracies in translation. Any inaccuracies or other defects contained in this material, due to inaccuracies in language translation, are the sole responsibility of [YOUR INSTITUTION] and not MIT OpenCourseWare."

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35. What are the technical requirements for viewing MIT OCW course materials?

To best view and use the sites, MIT OCW has adopted the following guidelines:

  • Our course sites work on the Macintosh, Unix, and Windows platforms.
  • Although higher-speed connections are preferable, slower connections, such as 28.8 kbps modems, should allow users to view most materials on the sites; however, downloading materials will take a longer period of time.
  • Supported Browsers: MIT OCW has tested the course sites with the following browsers:
    • Internet Explorer version 6.0+  (Windows)
    • Safari version 1.2.2+  (Mac OSX)
    • Firefox 1.0+ (all platforms)
    • Mozilla 1.4+ (all platforms)

Some special content filetypes require specialized software to use; an extensive list is included on the MIT OCW Technical Requirements page. If you continue to encounter difficulties, please contact MIT OCW through our Feedback Form.

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36. What is metadata and why is it important to MIT OCW?
Metadata is, literally, "data about data." Metadata can be better understood as information that describes other information. For example, this Web page of FAQs for MIT OCW has an author, a title, a date of creation, and a unique Internet address; this information constitutes the metadata about this page. Working with the MIT Libraries, MIT OCW has implemented a strong set of metadata, enabling sophisticated, powerful, and accurate searches across course content materials.

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37. How do I change the font-size on the MIT OCW Web site?
The fonts and style of the MIT OCW Web site have been specifically selected to meet certain design and accessibility standards. The MIT OCW Team has tested the site and these standards across a wide variety of browsers and platform. However, some users may still find that their browser configurations continue to display the text too small. You can change the displayed font size using your browser's View menu. In Netscape 7, there is a "VIEW - Text-Zoom" selection (try 120%). In Netscape 4.x, there is a "VIEW - Increase Font" selection. In Internet Explorer, you can select "VIEW - Text-Size - Larger or Largest." We hope this helps you to more comfortably view the MIT OCW course materials.

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38.  Is the MIT OCW Web site compliant with W3C standards and accessibility requirements?

The MIT OCW production and development team has made great strides with regards to MIT OCW and Web accessibility. We have moved the site from standalone, hand-coded HTML to a template-based content management system. This resulted in a great number of changes: The templates we designed for our CMS are both valid HTML 4.01 and meet Sec. 508 & WCAG AA Web Accessibility recommendations. Our style guide has been revised to include validating and checking the accessibility of HTML as part of the authoring process. The CMS requires all images to contain ALT attributes. Our data tables contain heavy use of the scope and headers attributes that make it easier to navigate using screenreaders such as JAWS.

We are also spending a lot of time on the accessibility of PDFs — as part of our conversion process we have removed any PDFs using Type 3 or bitmapped fonts. We are also using Adobe's "Make Accessible" plugin before finalizing the document.We are working closely with the MIT Adaptive Technology for Information and Computing Lab to ensure that the MIT OCW course sites are as accessible as possible.

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39. What information does MIT OCW collect from visitors to the Web site?
The information we collect from visitors helps us improve the MIT OCW site, and assists us in evaluating the access, use, and impact of MIT OCW on the worldwide educational community. MIT OCW collects the following information from visitors:

  • Information You Provide: We receive and store any information you enter on the MIT OCW Web site or give us in any other way. You provide most such information when you submit feedback on the site, contact us by email, or agree to participate in a visitor survey. This information may include your name and email address, your academic status, your institution, your geographic region, how you are using MIT OCW, and what you think of the site. In all cases, any information you provide is strictly optional and voluntary and you may choose to use the MIT OCW site without ever providing this information. If you voluntarily provide your email address or other contact information, we will not share personal information with anyone without first requesting your explicit permission to do so.
  • Automatic Information: We receive and store certain types of information whenever you interact with the MIT OCW Web site. Like many Web sites, we make use of “cookies,” and we obtain certain types of information when your Web browser accesses . Examples of the information we collect and analyze include the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the MIT OCW site; computer and connection information such as browser type and version, operating system, and platform, and; content you viewed or searched for during your visit to MIT OCW. During some visits we may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, download errors, and length of visits to certain pages. If your browser is configured to not accept cookies, you will still enjoy full access to all MIT OCW content. However, none of this information is personally identifiable or linked back to you individually.
  • Email Communications: We maintain a list of interested visitors who voluntarily provide their email addresses and to whom we email the monthly “MIT OpenCourseWare Update” email newsletter, and other infrequent email announcements pertaining to MIT OCW. If you no longer want to receive the newsletter, or any other communications from MIT OCW, send an email to ocw@mit.edu and we will remove you from our database.

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40. What are "cookies," and does MIT OCW make use of cookies on its Web site?
Cookies are alphanumeric identifiers that this Web site transfers to your computer's hard drive through your Web browser to enable our systems to recognize your browser when you make return trips to the site. This allows us to track your use of the site (anonymously), and to analyze patterns in site use, such as repeat visits, length of visits, and breadth of content used, for example). Cookies also allow us to conduct periodic, online, voluntary user surveys where we can gain more insight into what type of people are actually using the site, how they are using the site, and what the educational impact of the site is on these users.

MIT OCW's use of cookies is designed to be unobtrusive, and we do not collect personally identifiable information through their use. However, if you do not wish to accept cookies, the "Help" portion of the toolbar on most Web browsers will tell you how to prevent your browser from accepting new cookies, how to have the browser notify you when you receive a new cookie, or how to disable cookies altogether. Disabling cookies will in no way affect your access to content on the MIT OCW site. If you leave cookies enabled on your Web browser, you may be asked to complete a brief questionnaire that will help us gain a better understanding of the use and impact of MIT OCW.

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41. Does MIT OCW share the information it receives?
Information about our users is an important part of understanding and extending the impact of MIT OCW in the worldwide academic community. Personally identifiable information about individual users (name, email address, etc) will not be made available to third parties except as outlined below, nor will it ever be used for commercial purposes. We share user information in the following contexts:

  • Agents: We employ companies and individuals to perform functions on our behalf. Examples include compiling and categorizing user feedback, analyzing survey data or data about your use of the site, and providing customer support. These agents have access to user information needed to perform their functions, but may not use this information for any other purposes. These agents are bound by non-disclosure agreements.
  • MIT OCW Sponsors: We work closely with philanthropic organizations that provide the funding that makes MIT OCW possible. These sponsors are interested in evaluating access, use, and impact of the MIT OCW Web site in order to determine if MIT OCW is achieving its objectives. We will provide information on a regular basis to these sponsors for evaluation purposes. We will not share any personally identifiable information such as name or email address unless you have given us explicit permission to do so.
  • Institutions interested in the "OpenCourseWare Movement": Part of MIT OCW's mission as an organization is to encourage other educational institutions to openly share their course materials with the world, as MIT is doing. In order to accomplish this objective, we are committed to sharing what we learn in public forums, at educational conferences, and with other educational institutions. This may include aggregate data about usage of the site, feedback we have received, and the impact of MIT OCW on people throughout the world. However, in no case will we share any personally identifiable information, such as name or email address, unless you have given us explicit permission to do so.
  • Evaluation Data: There is a variety of anonymous data published on the MIT OCW Web site describing general user behavior and how users interact with MIT OCW content, such as where users are accessing the Web site from, how many times they access the site, or what their educational role is (educator, student, or self-learner). But this is all general data that carries no personal identifiable information.
  • Case Studies or Email Feedback: Some MIT OCW users have agreed to let us post their picture and/or name on the MIT OCW Web site as case studies of how people are using and interacting with MIT OCW materials. These case studies and user emails have only been published after we have secured explicit permission to do so. If a user chooses not to let us publish his or her email, case study or photograph on the MIT OCW Web site, this will not in any way limit their access to the MIT OCW site or its contents.

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42. Why does this PDF not open correctly in my Acrobat 4.0/Acrobat 5.0 Reader?
Almost all PDFs are readable with Acrobat 5.0 and greater; a small percentage of the PDF documents offered on the MIT OCW Web site are compatible only with Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Reader or greater. If you would like to view such a file, we recommend downloading the most recent free Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Web site. Meanwhile, we are currently working to identify these files and optimize them to fully function with Acrobat Reader versions 5.0 and greater. Please contact us if you should notice a file that has this issue when attempting to view and we will work to fix it. In your message, be sure to include your version number of Adobe Acrobat, your browser type and version as well as what operating system you are using. Also, if you would identify the course, section and name of the PDF that would assist us in locating and correcting it.

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43. How can I support MIT OCW with a financial donation?
It is particularly generous of you to offer a financial contribution to support MIT OCW. This is a wonderful endorsement of what we hope to achieve. If you wish to make such a donation, please make your check payable to "MIT" and enclose a note indicating that the contribution is for the MIT OCW Fund, number 4021100. You can mail your check to:

Recording Secretary
MIT Office of the Treasurer
238 Main Street, Suite 200
Cambridge, MA 02142

You can also support MIT OCW financially by making use of the "Giving to MIT" Web site. Utilize the site's secure, online giving form. When filling out the gift form, the MIT OCW fund number is 4021100, and the official fund name is "OpenCourseWare."

If you have further questions about how you can support MIT OCW financially, please contact Jon Paul Potts, MIT OCW Communications Manager, at jpotts@mit.edu, or 1-617-452-3621.

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44. How do I apply for admission to MIT as a student?
MIT OCW is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting program. MIT OCW course materials are available for free on the Web for the use of educators and self-learners. Those interested in applying to be full-time students at MIT are encouraged to contact the MIT Admissions Office:
Office of Admissions
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Room 3-108
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
Phone: +1.617.253.4791
http://web.mit.edu/admissions/

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45. How do I apply for admission to the MIT Sloan School of Management as a student?
MIT OCW makes the course materials that are used in the teaching of almost all MIT's undergraduate and graduate subjects available on the Web, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world. MIT OCW is a large-scale, Web-based publication of MIT course materials. MIT OCW is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting program. Those interested in applying for admission to the Sloan School of Management should visit the School's Web site.

46. How can I apply for a job at MIT OCW?
At this time, MIT OCW is fully staffed. To find what positions are available at MIT in general, including MIT OCW, please visit the Jobs at MIT Web site.