Updated: 5/16/2006; 4:03:24 PM.

Digital Development
Communications and info tech in developing countries, especially wireless broadband and high-value applications

daily link  Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Opening up the BBC archive: "Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, has announced plans to give the public full access to all the corporation's programme archives. Mr Dyke said on Sunday that everyone would in future be able to download BBC radio and TV programmes from the internet. The service, the BBC Creative Archive, would be free and available to everyone, as long as they were not intending to use the material for commercial purposes, Mr Dyke added. "  More interpretation from a blogger: "While the commercial companies fret over the dangers of P2P and zero-cost replication, the BBC has realised that this is its greatest opportunity. Not to beat commercial media concerns, but to finally stop mimicking them. It's heartening to see how quickly the BBC spotted this. From the first informal conversations at the lowest levels, to the acceptance by the most cynical realists at the top of the corporation, it took just 18 months for the BBC to get it. Compare that to the tardiness of the supposedly fast-thinking commercial companies. .. There are some big questions. Sorting out the contractual issues with anything but completely internally produced content will be difficult. There are artist's residuals (payments made to actors for repeat showings of their work), external commercial content, and international rights to consider."

  11:03:11 AM  permalink  

Update on MIT Everyware (Sept 2003): "MIT announced to the world in April 2001 that it would be posting the content of some 2,000 classes on the Web.. MIT would make everything, from video lectures and class notes to tests and course outlines, available to any joker with a browser. .. here was the pinnacle of technology and science education ready to give it away. Not the degrees, which now cost about $41,000 a year, but the content. No registration required. .. The idea quickly attracted outside funding. The William and Flora Hewlett and the Andrew W. Mellon foundations ponied up a total of $11 million for the first two-year phase. .. [This year OpenCourseWare has] 500 courses, offerings like Nuclear Engineering Course 22.312: Engineering of Nuclear Reactors, and Political Science 17.251: Congress and the American Political System. The school expects to add the remaining 1,500 courses over the next three years. ..

One of the most popular offerings turned out to be Laboratory in Software Engineering, aka 6.170, a tough requirement for electrical engineering and computer science majors. Lam Vi Quoc, a fourth-year student at Vietnam's Natural Sciences University, relied on 6.170 lectures to supplement a software lab he was taking, and Evan Hoff, a software developer in Nashville, followed the course to improve his coding skills. In Karachi, Pakistan, a group of 100 students and professionals met weekly to study 6.170. In Kansas City, five members of the Greater Kansas City Java Professionals Association gathered monthly to take the course. In Mauritius, a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, Priya Durshini Thaunoo used 6.170 to prepare for a master's degree program at the University of Mauritius. Saman Zarandioon, an Iranian refugee living in Vienna, studied it to continue an education that was stalled by the Iranian government. And software developer Rahul Thadani in Birmingham, Alabama, took it to sharpen his skills. ..

In addition to students, the material appeals to countless educators at other universities. Zhivko Nedev, a computer science professor at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, turns to 6.170 material to help him prepare lectures for his programming course. "It is the best thing I have ever seen in computer science," he says. Ludmila Matiash, at the Kyiv Mohyla Business School in Ukraine, draws on OpenCourseWare to design educational and training programs. Kathy Mann, manager of the biology lab at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, uses Biology 7.012: Introduction to Biology to teach students how to create lab reports and record information from science experiments. "It's really well done," she says. "Why reinvent the wheel?" The Fulbright Economic Teaching Program at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City makes its own content available online to any interested learners - and indicates on its site that it is taking a cue from OpenCourseWare. ..

MIT is working hard on other ways to extend OpenCourseWare's reach. In January, Universia, a Madrid-based consortium of universities, approached MIT about translating the material into Spanish and Portuguese. MIT signed a deal to authorize and vet the translations, and the first 25 courses will be available this month. The university has received similar requests from the Middle East, Ukraine, and Mongolia, but it won't forge any more official partnerships until it sees how the Universia deal goes.

Ultimately, MIT officials know, OpenCourseWare's success depends on the emergence of online communities to support individual courses. Margulies says MIT is eager to find third parties to create tools that would enable learners or educators to easily organize and manage discussion groups using OpenCourseWare content. "We'd like to see self-managed OpenCourseWare communities," says Margulies. "Our vision is to have this open source software on the site, as well as information that helps people build a learning community, whether it's in Namibia, Thailand, wherever."

  10:18:33 AM  permalink  

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 4:03:24 PM.