Impact of OpenCourseWare publication on higher education participation and student recruitment

Stephen Carson, Sukon Kanchanaraksa, Ira Gooding, Fred Mulder, Robert Schuwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The free and open publication of course materials (OpenCourseWare or OCW) was initially undertaken by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other universities primarily to share educational resources among educators (Abelson, 2007). OCW, however, and more in general open educational resources (OER),1 have also provided well-documented opportunities for all learners, including the so-called "informal learners" and "independent learners" (Carson, 2005; Mulder, 2006, p. 35). Universities have also increasingly documented clear benefits for specific target groups such as secondary education students and lifelong learners seeking to enter formal postsecondary education programs. In addition to benefitting learners, OCW publication has benefitted the publishing institutions themselves by providing recruiting advantages. Finally enrollment figures from some institutions indicate that even in the case of the free and open publication of materials from online programs, OCW does not negatively affect enrollment. This paper reviews evaluation conducted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), and Open Universiteit Nederland (OUNL) concerning OCW effects on higher education participation and student recruitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Distance education
  • Distance universities
  • E-learning
  • Higher education
  • Online learning
  • Open learning
  • Open universities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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