In April 2021 we kicked off the celebrations of 20 years of OpenCourseWare with a virtual anniversary event and tributes to the community of MIT faculty, OCW staff, and learners who have helped make these first two decades possible. 

One of the highlights has been hearing from learners and educators around the world about their experiences with OCW, and the impact specific OCW courses, professors, and resources have had on their lives—from introducing perspectives that jumpstart a new educational journey to providing tools to make change in their communities. 

Here are a few of the inspiring reflections on what 20 years of OpenCourseWare and the potential of open education mean to our learners:

Agency in Learning

1. “What a gift that the OCW courses are available. As a homeschool parent this has been very helpful for our family. My son who was home educated was able to access courses to complete his high school classes. We live in an area where our school choices are limited.  This gave my son world-class instruction and made him more competent.” -Rebecca, Parent, United States

2. “OCW stands as a spring of eternal youth, it keeps me aware that science, technology and education are always improving our lives no matter how learned, old or affluent you are. I vividly remember watching an algebra video course the first weeks of [OCW] thousands of miles away in my browser window screen. The barrier to higher education had fallen and the world would never be the same from this moment on. Thanks to MIT generosity, OCW has made possible the right to upper academic education for anyone.” -Ronan, Independent Learner, France

 3. “A more hands-on and burden-free approach to my education. I am allowed to set the pace and not be overwhelmed.” -Oriel, University Student, United States

 4. “I’ve quit university (which I attended in my free-time beside working). Why be bound to a fixed curriculum, if I can learn in the candy-land of OCW?” -Thomas, Independent Learner, Germany

 5. “Science became available in every area all over the world, even in each house with simple methods. OCW personally was my reference as an educator.” -Mostafa, Educator, Egypt

Knowledge and Opportunity 

6. “The fact that I can believe everything is possible and I can be anyone I want to be, is mesmerizing. OCW gets the credit for that. It reshaped what I thought about the world and education previously. The openness, the collaborative approach and sharing knowledge doesn’t get any better.” -Ove, University Student, Bangladesh

7.  “The internet has allowed unprecedented levels of access to knowledge from all around the world. But that doesn’t mean that knowledge is either correct or well-organized. With OCW I know I don’t have to worry about either of those issues. Having the option to learn things in a variety of ways (text, video lectures, etc.) helps too.” -David, Independent Learner, Australia

8. “I used the material from your differential equations course in a course that I taught. The students learned phenomenally better that they had in previous courses. All the credit goes to the two MIT professors who developed the course. No aspect, from the approach, to the Mathlets, could have been any better. I now look for material that I’m personally interested in.” -Mark, University Educator, United States

9.  “Whether it was a topic or the whole subject, OCW was the first bookmark which I opened. My curiosity for the truth of things generally ended with the wide range of courses that I could tap into at my convenience. I can strongly say that OCW has not only helped me improve my grades in the courses I took in class but has also been helpful to push myself an extra mile and break the boundaries for interdisciplinary education.”  -Kshitij, University Student, India

10.  “The impact of OCW in my education and life in general, is humongous. A life-changing experience, in other words a revival of my spirit.” -Georgios, Independent Learner, Greece

A Brighter Shared Future

11. “Nowadays learning has become possible throughout life thanks to platforms such as MIT OpenCourseWare. That is why I support this wonderful initiative to share the most precious common good: useful knowledge to make the world a better place!” – Brahim, High School Educator, France

12. “I use the knowledge I gain from OCW lectures, particularly the Engineering courses, to tinker on solutions for problems in my society. I am addicted to OCW, as there’s no better source of knowledge. ” -Celestine, High School Student, Kenya

13. An opportunity to create new perspectives, never stop learning, never stop asking. This is a great century to be alive, and this means to me that there is a chance to be a better person for my community and for the world in general.” -Alan, Independent Learner, Argentina

14. It means 20 years of sharing top quality resources for learning all around the world. 20 years of impacting other people and providing them with tools to drive positive change in their lives and communities on their own.” -Eduardo, High School Student, México

15.  “It means that education is becoming open and free for everyone on Earth.” -Albi, Independent Learner, Albania

Twenty years is an incredible foundation to build on, and we’re just getting started. 

Share your own OCW story with us, and if you’re in a position to give, please consider supporting the next generation of OCW with a donation today.