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The NYU Open Education Pilot Publishes Its First Courses

January 21, 2011

In early October 2010, NYU's first completely open courses were published on the Open Education Pilot website. This pilot launched with two exceptional courses. New York City: A Social History was taught by Faculty of Arts and Science Professor Daniel Walkowitz and focused on the social history of the city, tracing its development from a small 17th-century Dutch settlement into the multicultural metropolis it is today. American Literature I: From the Beginnings to the Civil War, taught by Faculty of Arts and Science Associate Professor and NYU Abu Dhabi Associate Dean of Humanities Cyrus Patell, is a survey of American literature and literary history, from the early colonial period to the eve of the Civil War.

December saw the addition of two new courses, Introduction to Sociology and Genomes and Genomes and Diversity. Introduction to Sociology, taught by Professor of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies Harvey Molotch, provides a sampling of problems and methods used by sociologists, with concrete examples from everyday life, history, and contemporary events. Genomes and Diversity, taught by Associate Professor of Biology Mark Siegal, focuses on genomics (the study of all the genes in an organism) and explores microbial diversity, with an emphasis on how genomics can reveal many aspects of organisms, from their ancient history to their physiological and ecological habits.

Where to Watch

  • The NYU Open Education Pilot website has the most comprehensive information about each course including key topics, lists of required and recommended readings, videos of the individual lectures, supplementary material, and feedback options.
  • NYU's YouTube channel features all Open Education Pilot video content among its videos.
  • NYU's iTunes U channel features Open Education Pilot video content among its 220 audio and video podcasts. (Note: Clicking the link will launch iTunes.)

Additional courses will be added this spring. And, as the pilot grows, more of the lecture videos will include English closed captions. Viewers can translate these closed captions into over 40 languages using YouTube's built built-in translation functionality. (For instructions, see the Open Education Pilot FAQs.)


NYU's Open Education Pilot courses are being shared under a Creative Commons license of Attribution, Non-Commercial & Share-Alike. This license allows others to remix, share, and build on the work non-commercially, as long as they provide attribution and license their new creations under the identical terms.

Further information is available on the Open Education Pilot Terms of Use page.

Advice for faculty

The following are some useful tips and tricks for faculty members who are interested in participating in the NYU Open Education pilot or learning more about finding public domain content, using third-party materials in a course, or recording their own content.

If you are a faculty member who is interested in participating in the next phase of the Open Education project, please send email with with a very brief description of your field of study and your course(s) to

If you are interested in finding other open educational resources, public domain content, or third-party materials to use in your own courses, the first, and arguably most important, step is knowing where to find content. You can search for materials in the public domain or licensed for reuse at the following sites:

For advice or answers to questions on copyright law as it relates to academic research, teaching, and publication, visit NYU Library's web page at

For training, consultation, and assistance with recording content, visit the Digital Studio, which offers:

  • Multimedia Services—document, image, and slide scanning; support for digital video and audio creation, conversion, video editing, and DVD authoring
  • Media Publication—create podcasts using the Digital Studio's dedicated podcasting room; upload audio and video content for NYU's streaming or blog services
  • File Storage and Management—help with archiving digital content such as documents, working papers, and images; repositories include the Faculty Digital Archive, ARTstor, and Files 2.0
  • Digital Project Planning—specialist assistance to determine project scope, workflows and timelines for production; the best technologies and practices for digitization and metadata creation; and the appropriate storage and delivery methods for the project

The Digital Studio is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm, and is located in the South Wing of the 5th floor of Bobst Library. The studio can be reached at 212.992.9233 or

For more tips and tricks, please visit the Open Education Pilot website.



Lillian Moran is a Senior Faculty Technology Specialist within ITS Faculty Technology Services.

This Article is in the following Topics:
Connect - Information Technology at NYU, Teaching and Learning

Type: Article

The NYU Open Education Pilot Publishes Its First Courses

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