If you are a keen observer of MIT OpenCourseWare, you may have noticed a new feature beginning to appear on some of our course publications, the “This Course at MIT” page.

[Note: Since this blog post was published, OCW has changed the designation of such pages from “This Course at MIT” to “Instructor Insights.” We’ve adjusted the links in this post, but left the text unrevised.]

The “This Course at MIT” pages are a return to MIT OpenCourseWare’s original vision.  While a large number of our visitors are independent learners—and we’ve embraced this audience through OCW Scholar courses and other efforts—the original concept for OCW was to provide a repository of MIT’s core materials for classroom instruction, so that educators around the world could download, modify and use our materials as they structure their own in-person class experiences.

This page, structured like a fact sheet, provides additional information on curricular aspects of the courses we publish as they are offered on the MIT campus.  Information includes course outcomes, photos and descriptions of the physical classroom setting at MIT, and key student activities broken down by time spent on each during the course. Some “This Course at MIT” pages feature extensive commentary from the instructor(s) on pedagogical approaches employed.  You can view a complete list of courses with “This Course at MIT” pages here.

OCW has always done well in sharing what materials faculty use in their teaching, but we’ve felt for some time we could do a better job of sharing how those materials are used.  “This Course at MIT” pages are one answer to this challenge.

The “This Course at MIT” page for 4.241J Theory of City Form.

The “This Course at MIT” pages are also one aspect of a wider effort we are undertaking to return OCW to its roots in supporting educators more explicitly, an effort we call OCW Educator.

The two goals of OCW Educator are:

  • To articulate and share the educational ideas, practices, and expertise of those who teach at MIT, and
  • To help users understand the context and manner in which the materials were originally used on campus.

In addition to the “This Course at MIT” pages, OCW Educator will include courses with a deep focus on pedagogy and faculty commentary throughout the publication, such as the recently-released 18.821 Project Laboratory in Mathematics, and other efforts to provide an in-depth look at how teaching actually takes place on the MIT campus.

Please feel free to tell us what you think of “This Course at MIT” and OCW Educator by e-mailing us at ocw@mit.edu, or commenting on this post.