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About the Pilot Project

The concept of sharing educational resources freely around the world, referred to as "open education" or "open courseware", is now gaining mainstream acceptance both inside and outside of the academy and has been adopted by over 200 higher education institutions worldwide.   According to the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCW), open education has three main advantages: access and distribution of knowledge to regions of the world where higher education is not readily available; recruitment and retention of students, as well as curriculum development and research collaboration among faculty; and sustainability of interest in and access to higher education.

Additional advantages cited include the provision of extra help for students taking a similar course around the globe; identification of potential courses by students; freeing of class time, as high-consensus "background" material can be provided online, leaving more time for student‐led education and increased participation in faculty-student discussion time; and providing feedback to faculty who wish to use the recording to review their presentation style.

Sharing Potential

Like many other institutions of higher education, NYU has been examining the potential of sharing course lectures online, for free. The notion of "open content as social responsibility" is a common theme among universities currently publishing or considering publishing open content.

NYU's Open Education pilot project began in Fall 2009 as a funded initiative of the Office of the Provost, led by the Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS) Dean for the Social Sciences Dalton Conley and supported by Information Technology Services (ITS). Dean Conley believes that not only is this initiative key to NYU's standing as a major research university in the coming years but is especially important at an educational institution whose motto is "a private university in the public service" as well as a school that aspires to be a "globally networked university."

Initial Plan

The initial plans for NYU's Open Education pilot project center around a set of interrelated key areas and objectives as follows:

  • Public Content: With public content as the core objective of the pilot, plans are underway to begin publishing the first round of open content online for Fall 2010.
  • Student Interaction with Content: The longer term vision for the project aims to enable the use of tools for online discussion, annotation, bookmarking, and other capabilities that can add to the effectiveness of students' online experience. These new forms of student participation – which would accompany face‐to‐face classes, peer‐to‐peer interaction, and office‐based faculty mentoring – could eventually be included in a student's grades in particular courses.   
  • Reuse and Extensibility of Course Content: With the number of NYU's global sites doubling in the past five years, the potential for technology to aid the delivery of background lectures across the globe is growing, the potential for re‐use of course content is growing. For example, recordings of high‐quality introductory lectures given by NYU faculty could be assigned to new students for review prior to the first class meeting, regardless of location. This reuse of content could also help to free up "seat" time, as high-consensus content could be provided online, leaving more time for increased student participation in face‐to‐face class discussion.
  • NYU Outreach: One additional objective of the project is to enhance the world‐wide exposure of the high quality scholarship at NYU. A recent survey of incoming freshmen conducted by MIT found that "35 percent of MIT freshmen who knew about the OpenCourseWare initiative reported that availability of the materials significantly influenced their decision to attend the institution."


To date, the Open Ed pilot at NYU has completed its first two phases. Phase 1, Fall 2009 saw four FAS courses recorded using Echo 360 classroom recording technology, the internal sharing of this recorded content via NYU Blackboard, and feedback from the students and faculty within these courses.

Phase 2, Spring 2010 saw the recording of six FAS courses, including one from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, using a variety of technologies, including recordings produced via ProfCast as well as via the NYU TV & Media Center -- in addition to Echo 360.

Phase 3 began this semester, Fall 2010, and sees the recording of 10 courses using Echo 360. These courses are a mix of FAS; Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; and  Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.


The open education movement has seen some major progress in recent times. As mentioned in Dean Conley’s recent Newsweek Article, "Pennsylvania’s university system is considering making its language courses online only; Indiana recently added an 'affordable' Web‐based campus; and Yale Law School is sharing resources with the University of the People, a pioneering 'global college' that's tuition‐free and totally online."

So what does all this mean for long term plans for Open Education at NYU? Our objective is to become the first university to deploy 21st‐century technology to reinvent the 19th century tutorial model--on a global scale, to boot. NYU is one of a number of universities who are seeking to develop portal campuses around the world.  While providing free course content to the global community--including translations into key languages--enhanced versions of this material will also facilitate intercontinental, within-NYU shared learning opportunities to our registered students.

NYU on YouTube

Find the NYU Open Education courses as well as hundreds of video uploads, featuring speakers, class events, topic discussions, and faculty interviews from around the University.

Contributing schools include NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, School of Law, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Wagner School of Public Administration, and Stern School of Business, Undergraduate.

NYU on iTunes U

NYU on
iTunes U

Find the NYU Open Education courses as well as content from NYU's College of Dentistry, FAS, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, School of Law, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Silver School of Social Work, Stern School of Business, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Tisch School of the Arts, and Wagner School of Public Administration.

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