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MIT OpenCourseWare: Teaching the world for free

MIT OpenCourseWare is getting widely distributed, much more so than I had thought.

By any measure, MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative, which seeks to "open source" education by making course ware from premier institutions available online to all for free, is a success.

But recently published data for OpenCourseWare suggests that it's an even bigger success than I had supposed. Consider:

  • More than 53.7 million individuals have now visited OpenCourseWare's site/affiliated sites;
  • OpenCourseWare servers have now delivered over 3.1 billion files ("hits") since launch;
  • 8.5 million zip files of full course content have been downloaded from the site;
  • 2.1 million OpenCourseWare videos have been downloaded from iTunes, with its videos viewed more than 2.5 million times on YouTube.

Wow. These are almost mind-boggling numbers, and they don't simply represent the local state college student who didn't get admitted to MIT. MIT uses OpenCourseWare to reach out to high school students, international students, and more.

It's a deeply impressive effort, one that seems to be getting the distribution that it deserves.