Despite rumors, MIT OpenCourseWare insists ‘no paywall’

Contrary to erroneous reports, MIT says it has no plans to implement a paywall for its free open courseware, ReadWriteWeb reports. “That is simply not under consideration,” says Steve Carson, MIT OpenCourseWare’s external relations director. After all, there are some 250 sites that mirror MIT OpenCourseWare, and more than 10 million copies of course packages have been downloaded. The information is already out there. And the mission of the program remains the same: “open sharing of MIT teaching materials with educators, students, and self-learners around the world.” Although there is no paywall in store for the program, Carson does say the project has to be mindful of budgetary issues. The program cost $3.7 million to run last year. The site now features a prominent “Donate Now” button. Carson says that small donations—around the $50 level—comprised about $220,000 in the program’s revenues last year, and the program hopes to hit $500,000 this fiscal year. Likening MIT OpenCourseWare to the “information for public good” services of NPR and PBS, Carson says that the program will seek funding from both charitable organizations, as well as corporate underwriters. Currently the program is considering advertising on the web site, something Carson thinks will appeal to organizations who want to be in front of a global audience of well-educated people…

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