Have you ever wondered how a course comes together on OCW? How do we decide which courses will have video lectures, or what it’s like collaborating with MIT faculty to share their teaching with the world? These were just some of the questions tackled by members of the OCW team in our live event last month, The Magic Behind OpenCourseWare (watch the recording).

We were overwhelmed by the thoughtful questions and enthusiasm from everyone who tuned in or shared what was on your mind (we received over 150 questions from the community for our one-hour event!). To show our appreciation, we invited the event’s panelists, OCW experts Sharon, Shiba, Brett, and Yvonne, back to answer some of your pressing questions about the making of OCW, our outreach and accessibility, and what the future holds. We’ll share answers to as many as we can over the next couple of weeks right here on our blog, so be sure to check back for more. First up, your questions on some of the resources found on the OCW site!

Some questions have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Is it up to the professor whether assignments also have answers posted?


It is up to the professor to decide which teaching materials to share. While some professors are willing to share answer keys to their assignments, others may prefer to share problems only. -Sharon Lin, Digital Publication Specialist

We all benefit when knowledge is shared. That’s why OpenCourseWare is always open for learners to find the courses and resources they need to improve their studies, their lives, and their communities. Help sustain our vision of free access to knowledge as a monthly OCW donor today.

Is there going to be a “roadmap” as a kind of guide to emulate a degree at some point?


Thanks for asking that question, Yamil. The answer is yes, you can easily use MIT OpenCourseWare as a resource-rich syllabus and guide for all of your academic planning. Each MIT department represented on the OCW site includes a link to their Department Curriculum. You can find that link at the top right of each Department page.

By using that link, you can see how MIT details the requirements for an undergraduate or graduate degree, which includes courses that run from the introductory levels to more advanced levels.

Another way to see the courses related to a topic is by using the Find by topic feature on our site. You’ll be able to filter the results by undergraduate and graduate levels to gain an idea of what’s available on the OCW and compare it to the Department Curriculum. -Yvonne Ng, Annual Giving and Donor Relations Officer

What is the role of textbooks in the age of OCW? – Ruchira

Hi Ruchira, I think access to textbooks is important, especially for online learners. We have a collection of online textbooks available on OCW, and continue to add online texts wherever possible. Some of these are open-licensed digital versions of print textbooks, others are self-published digital books or course notes that serve as an alternative to a traditional textbook. We also make an effort to share to other open resource sites so that the resources are more universally available. The hope is that by fostering open sharing of educational texts, more and more content providers will see the value of opening access to educational materials. – Shiba Nemat-Nasser, Digital Publication Specialist & Feedback Lead

Have a question we didn’t answer? Check back soon for the next in our series. Or, ask us here.