Bill Gates Says Open Courseware Is Good but Needs Improvement

The fragmented world of open courseware should be transformed into “a worldwide resource that’s very clear who should use what,” Bill Gates said in a speech on Wednesday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Microsoft founder praised MIT as being “at the forefront” in open courseware, adding that he has taken many of the institution’s OpenCourseWare classes. But he said some problems have yet to be solved in open courseware, such as how to make courses across campuses easier to find and how to best use interactive features.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is looking at how to help support innovation in open courseware, he said. “What’s been done so far has had very modest funding. This is an area we need more resources, more bright minds, and certainly one that I want to see how the foundation could make a contribution to this.”

The foundation announced $12.9-million in technology-related educational grants in December, including $2.5-million for Carnegie Mellon University’s Community College Open Learning Initiative. Marie Groark, a foundation spokeswoman, said that it is “scoping out” options for a second round of grants, but that “nothing’s been determined or set.”

Other coverage of Mr. Gates’s speech can be found online, including a video and an article in The Boston Globe.

[Image courtesy of MIT News]

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