CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

Archive for November, 2007

Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative

Posted by Cathy Kelley on November 12, 2007

I attended the WCET conference last week and saw some wonderful presentations. Among them was a demonstration of Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative or OLI. So far, 10 courses are available entirely for free and you can use these materials in your classes. At present courses include introductory-level classes in economics, statistics, logic, the sciences, and French. Some of these are complete distance courses and others are partial courses still in development, suitable for use in a blended environment.


Note that if you enter one of the courses, the first screen is kind of clunky looking but when you click through you will see a much nicer course interface a bit like a Blackboard course.

Anybody can participate as a self-paced learner. When taken this way, the courses are like a very high-quality souped-up textbook that includes self-paced exercises that provide detailed feedback to the learner.

In addition, instructors can register their classes and run real classes, and obtain feedback about their students. The material is of astoundingly high quality and you get back detailed information about your students’ performance such as charted learning curves for each student. (as a former cognitive psychologist I find that kind of thing incredibly cool.) Other dashboards showing student performance using a variety of metrics are under development. Some of the classes are free, and others would require a fee to set up this way (but less per student than the cost of a textbook).

I’d love to hear from any of our scientists or economists with your opinion about this material. Post a comment to the blog or send me e-mail – clkelley at fdu dot edu. Let me know if you are interested in using it, and we’ll get a dialogue started with our colleagues at CMU.

Also CMU tells me that they are looking for partners to help develop new classes. So if you have some great ideas, pass them on.

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