The Impact of Open Source

MIT Open Courseware is a well-designed open source website. MIT offers an abundance of open source course that are free. Each course is well designed and follows the same structure. These courses are carefully pre-planned because the layouts are user friendly and the course descriptions, level of course, syllabus, course requirement, technological requirements, and expectations of the courses are all in plain view.  Everything you need from course features, course descriptions and course formats are organized onto one page making navigation simple for the potential learner. These independent study courses provide all the tangibles needed to succeed such as lecture videos containing resources such as handouts, slides and coded files. Although these courses are independent study courses, learners have access to instructors, downloaded course materials, and they are able to join study groups for a rich distance-learning environment.

Classroom technology is a key component to a distance classroom environment. To ensure a meaningful distance learning experience the following steps should be followed for online instruction.

  • Assess Available Instructional Technologies
  • Determine the Learning Outcomes
  • Identify Learning Experiences and Match Each to the Most Appropriate Available Technology
  • Preparing the Learning Experience for Online Delivery (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).

With each course that is available through MIT Courseware offers a tab listed on the home page labeled software, which gives the potential student the required technology needed to be successful in the course. “Assessing available technologies often require that the instructor determine the level of lowest common technologies” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, p. 116).

With each course learning outcomes are observable and measurable. There are a number of activities and assessments the learners have to complete to prove that he/she has mastered the material. To help guide the students success syllabi, and rubrics are provided with each activity.

MIT Courseware identifies learning experiences and match each to the most appropriate available technology by offering lecture videos and lecture note that are divided into sessions along with assignments related to each session in PDF format.

MIT Courseware prepares the learning experiences for online delivery by linear-programmed instruction, branched-program instruction, hyper-programed instruction and student-programed instruction. All learning instructions are broken into session giving the student the ability to work at a systematic pace for linear instruction. Students have the ability for branch-programmed instruction to move ahead if they mastered the learning material.  All of the courses provided are independent giving the learner the ability to move ahead, which refers to hyper-programed instruction (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).

            Finally MIT Courseware is a well-designed CMS, which is simplistic in its layout giving the user the confidence and the ability navigate throughout the distances learning courses with ease. All activities are well organized and related to each session to maximize learning.


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson 


Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Patrick Hopkins