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Thursday, October 27 • 4:45pm - 5:15pm
Instructor Benefits and Costs of Contributing to MIT's OpenCourseWare

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Previous OCW research has focused on the users and institution. The instructor's perspective is the focus of this qualitative case study.

 

Summary

This paper covers perceived benefits and costs of instructors who contributed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare (OCW) project.  Data comes from six years worth of surveys, follow-up interviews with contributing MIT instructors, and a content analysis of written feedback comments received by the MIT OCW team.

Introduction

In Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OCW contributing instructors prepare their materials and offer their course content to the world to be used and altered by others.  Many wondered how MIT would overcome the seeming paradox of having instructors, who traditionally (1) protect their creative works, (2) are short on time, and (3) believe their classrooms are a private place, contribute to a project which would require (1) licensing their materials in an unfamiliar way; (2) more of their time; and (3) publicly publishing their works, inviting review, criticism, and scrutiny.
With these apparent costs of contributing to MIT OCW, why would instructors volunteer to be involved?  Why would they be interested in essentially giving away their creations, forgoing the standard copyright approach?  Why would they risk the marketability and commercialization of their course content?  Why would instructors be willing to put in any extra time?  Why would they make their content openly available for anyone to review?  Because contributing is largely voluntary, instructors must feel that contribution to MIT OCW brings them benefits which outweigh the costs of contributing.

Case Description

This study reviewed an existing case, namely MIT OCW, in an attempt to identify and describe the reasons instructors contribute their content to the project.  It was hoped that by understanding the benefits and costs for contributing, open dissemination opportunities might become more understood and, perhaps, accepted and common throughout the world.  The focus is to find out why instructors are willing to contribute their educational content to MIT OpenCourseWare.

Methodology

This study examines perceived benefits and costs of instructors who contributed to MIT OCW.  While previous research has investigated the benefits and costs of OCW projects from the perspectives of the users and institutions, there has been little research on the instructor's perspective, which is the focus of this qualitative case study. Instructors created the original educational content and would seem to have the most to lose by contributing it to OCW. 
Data comes from six years worth of surveys conducted by the evaluation team of the MIT OCW project, follow-up interviews with contributing MIT instructors, and a content analysis of written feedback comments received by the MIT OCW team.

Findings

Findings include instructor benefits of: (1) improved reputation, (2) networking, (3) supplementary opportunities, (4) improved course content, (5) course feedback, (6) students accessing materials, and (7) working with the MIT OCW team; and instructor costs of: (1) damaged reputation, (2) loss of intellectual property rights, (3) requirement of extra resources, (4) realignment of individual professional goals, (5) public materials, and (6) working with the MIT OCW team.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44oqVlL4FbM

Speakers

Thursday October 27, 2011 4:45pm - 5:15pm
Painted Horse

Attendees (18)