Director of Research
Over the past decade, a small revolution has taken place at some of the world’s leading universities, as they have started to provide free access to undergraduate course materials to anyone with an Internet connection. Even without offering credits or degrees, initiatives like Yale University’s high-quality recordings of popular lectures, MIT’s comprehensive OpenCourseWare, and Carnegie Mellon’s interactive learning environment, are beginning to open up elite institutions, and may foreshadow significant changes in such universities’ approach to teaching and learning.
After two years of research on several key courseware initiatives Ithaka S+R has just released a monograph, Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses (Princeton University Press), to provide senior academic leadership with strategic intelligence on this space. This session will examine key findings and themes from the study, such as:
• In a digital age, how can universities distinguish themselves in competition for reputation, students, and faculty?
• How will these projects continue to sustain themselves as they mature beyond the experimental phase?
• Can higher education institutions maintain the campus-based business model that has sustained them for centuries, while also leveraging new technology to expand access to the knowledge they produce?
• Faced with fiscal uncertainty and the need to increase access to higher education while maintaining quality, could these projects eventually have more transformative applications than we are seeing at present?
Significant time will be allotted for discussion of these themes. Ithaka S+R is launching a new research program on Teaching & Learning with Technology, and input during this session will help to inform its direction.