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Open Educational Resources (OER): OpenCourseWare

What is an OpenCourseWare (OCW)?

"An OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a free and open digital publication of high quality college and university‚Äźlevel educational materials.  These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content. OpenCourseWare are free and openly licensed, accessible to anyone, anytime via the internet" (Open Education Consortium).

OCW versus MOOCs

  • fully free and open
  • released under Creative Commons licenses that allow the use, reuse, modification, and distribution of materials
  • offers course materials
  • available at any time
  • allows to study at your own pace
  • no faculty participation


  • free to students
  • released under "closed" licenses that do not allow reuse, modification, and distribution of materials
  • offers an entire course
  • available only when offered
  • has to be taken from beginning to end, with assessment, like a regular course
  • faculty or graduate assistant participation

[*] "A massive open online course (MOOC) is a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limit on attendance" (EDUCAUSE). 

OpenCourseWare (OCW) collections