Boston, August 11, 2009) – The University of Massachusetts Boston has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the Boston Foundation to expand the university’s OpenCourseWare offerings, with the aim of increasing the retention rate of students who enter the university as freshman from Boston Public Schools.
Launched in late 2007, UMass Boston’s OpenCourseWare site (http://www.ocw.umb.edu) currently contains material from 24 courses in a variety of disciplines. The grant will fund the publication of the archives of 12 additional courses required by undergraduate students to earn a bachelor’s degree. It will also fund development of workshops to be attended by Boston high school teachers in the summer of 2010 at UMass Boston. Teachers will be trained on how to use OpenCourseWare resources and will be provided with strategies for using and integrating them into their classrooms so that students are better prepared when they enter UMass Boston.
“If students can be introduced to a university course syllabus and course materials in high school, they will be much better prepared and likely more successful when they arrive at UMass Boston,” said Brian White, an associate professor of biology at UMass Boston who has published two of his courses, on the OpenCourseWare website.
OpenCourseWare is free and open digital publications of educational materials organized as courses. The initiative was started by faculty at MIT in 2000. It has grown into a global movement with nearly 200 members worldwide. Some other American universities publishing OpenCourseWare include Tufts University, the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Utah State University, the University of California’s campuses in Irvine and Berkeley, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
“This is a significant expansion of our OpenCourseWare offerings, and we’re thankful for the Boston Foundation support,” said UMass Boston Chancellor Keith Motley. “This grant will help students coming from the Boston Public Schools, as well as those from high schools across the state and country, succeed at UMass Boston.”
The publication of course archives cannot be mandated by the university and done only with the permission of faculty who developed the course. They retain the rights to their intellectual property and share them under a Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org/).
About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s seven colleges and graduate schools serve more than 14,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.