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26 October 2005 / erikduval

Philip Long @ Skelleftea

[Philip Long]( mentioned that nowadays 1250 of MIT’s 1800 courses are available in [OpenCourseWare]( Courses are revisited every 3 years, to renew their contents. What he sees as the main difference of OCW is the institutional commitment, which leads to a depth and breadth of materials.

Interestingly, most hits from outside the USA come from China, India, Canada and South Korea. Twelve OCW sites are up and running, and 40 are underway, while 20 more are being considered.

Philip then talked about [icampus]( that is intended to complement OCW, based on the principles set out in [How People Learn]( The tools in icampus are available under an open source license: MIT wants to assess how they can be put to use elsewhere.

[xTutor]( focuses on an introductory computer science class that relies on scheme to help students think about computational problems: slides, full text and audio are complemented with interactive problems. The material is used in a blended learning approach, and students like being able to work at their own pace. Evaluations show that this is more effective for both broad concepts and detailed skills.

[iLabs]( focuses on remote experiments, much as [we do in ProLearn]( Five MIT experiments focus on signal analysis, polymer crystallization, shake table, micro-electronics and heat exchange. The integration into LabView looks quite nice and useful – I very much like the idea of integrating with what people already use and adding to that, rather than developing something completely new from scratch!

[xMAS]( is a cross-media annotation system: it enables referring to a clip from a DVD. The student will need a local copy – no copies are made, so as to avoid problems with intellectual property.

In wrapping up, Philip concluded that we’re sharing content and tools. What we are not doing very well is collaboration across institutions – I mentioned to him over coffee in the morning that I think we may need to find ways to progress these issues that do not require formal collaboration schemes, somewhat in a web2.0 fashion…

Questions from the audience related to quality and sustainability… Philip mentioned that faculty are short on time and that the people infrastructure to support them with cleaning up materials helps to convince them to contribute.


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