MIT Prize for Open Data | MIT Libraries News

“Have you worked with or created open data? Have you built tools that advance the use or distribution of open data? Have you theorized in novel ways about open data, especially with respect to ethical or social responsibility? And you’re conducting research at MIT?!?!?

Well, we have a prize opportunity for you!

Welcome to the MIT Prize for Open Data. This prize opportunity, presented by the MIT Libraries and MIT School of Science, is meant to “highlight the value of open data at MIT, and to encourage the next generation of researchers.” 

Submit nominations for yourself or others by Friday, September 16, 2022, 5pm at libraries.mit.edu/opendata. We look forward to seeing what you’ve done and to awarding $2,500 and an invitation to present your project at an “Open Data at MIT” event during Open Access Week in October to the winning projects….”

An Overseas Ed-Tech Firm Wants to Buy 2U. What Could That Mean for Colleges?

“Byju’s, an ed-tech behemoth based in India, has put more than $1 billion on the table to acquire the online program manager, Bloomberg first reported late last month. 2U is one of the largest online-program managers, or OPMs, in the United States, known for scaling up online-degree programs and teaming up with more than 130 American colleges, including large institutions such as Arizona State, New York, and Syracuse Universities. It’s also the parent company of the online-course provider edX….

The worry among colleges, these experts say, is that if Byju’s wanted to shave costs or focus more on short-term, course-level products, it could scale back that “high-touch” model that many institutions have come to expect in exchange for paying 2U millions of dollars through tuition-sharing agreements. There’s wariness, too, of temporary disruptions that can happen whenever a company undergoes reorganization.

College leaders fear that Byju’s intent is to “use the toehold and cash flow to accomplish some other goal,” and that 2U’s clients will not be a priority, said Clay Shirky, vice provost for educational technologies at New York University, which works with 2U. “That’s what we’re worried about.” …”

‘‘They Didn’t Care’: Inside One University’s Sputtering Online Partnership With 2U’ | Jeff Pooley

Michael Vasquez, writing for The Chronicle [paywalled] a few weeks ago: When a pair of professors stepped down from their posts at Arcadia University this year, without another job lined up, they did so to halt the creation of a physician-assistant program in partnership with 2U, the online-learning giant. […] After the full-time faculty members left, the program director also stepped down — further dampening any hopes of launching the program soon, as a program director must be on the job for 15 months before any accreditor visit. The resignations came several months after the accreditor’s virtual site visit to evaluate Arcadia’s fledgling hybrid physician-assistant program. That virtual visit did not go well. If and when the delayed, staff-less program gets launched, 2U will receive 62.5% of tuition revenue for 15 years, The Chronicle reported. Online Program Managers (OPMs) like 2U are stealth privatizers of nonprofit higher ed, even as they drain dollars from our universities and students. The Government Accountability Office’s mild-mannered May report [pdf] calling on more oversight was followed, earlier this month, by a hard-hitting Wall Street Journal piece (“2U Inc. isn’t a university, but it sometimes looks like one”), so maybe scrutiny of the sleazy sector is picking up. Just in time for 2U’s likely sale to an Indian ed-tech giant. What looks worse than ever is Harvard and MIT’s shameless decision last year to sell edX.  

MIT Open Access Task Force | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“The MIT Ad Hoc Task Force on Open Access to MIT’s Research, chaired by Class of 1922 Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Hal Abelson and Director of Libraries Chris Bourg, will lead an Institute-wide discussion of ways in which current MIT open access policies and practices might be updated or revised to further the Institute’s mission of disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible.”

Open access policies at MIT | Scholarly Publishing – MIT Libraries

“In March 2009, MIT faculty passed one of the country’s first open access policies; the policy covers their scholarly articles by default.

As of April 2017, all MIT authors, including students, postdocs, and staff, can “opt-in” to an open access license. See below for information on how to deposit a paper, get download statistics on your papers, or opt out of the policy. Authors covered by the MIT faculty open access policy do not need to sign this license.

MIT faculty OA policy
Text of the 2009 faculty open access policy, as well as definitions of terms that appear in the policy.
MIT authors’ opt-in OA license
Information and FAQs on MIT’s opt-in open access license. Sign the license.
FAQ on MIT’s faculty OA policy
Opt-out of MIT’s OA policies
Automated form to waive the faculty OA policy or authors’ opt-in license for a specific paper. Email oapolicyoptout@mit.edu for more information.
Reader comments on OA articles
This beta site shows what readers around the globe are saying about MIT’s OA policy.
Open access publishing support
Find support for open access publishing, including the OA fund. …”

Sanjay Sarma to step down as vice president for open learning | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“After nearly a decade running MIT’s digital learning platforms and education initiatives, Vice President for Open Learning Sanjay Sarma will step down from that post at the end of June, President L. Rafael Reif announced today in an email to the MIT community.

 

Sarma, who is the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been responsible for MIT Open Learning, which includes the Office of Digital Learning, the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), the Center for Advanced Virtuality, and the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL). Since 2012, he has led MIT Open Learning, first as director, then as dean, and finally as MIT vice president for open learning….”

MIT OpenCourseWare launches NextGen platform

After serving millions of learners around the world for the last 20 years, MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) has launched its next-generation platform to allow for flexible growth, experimentation, and evolution in open learning. MIT’s “NextGen OCW” offers a new and improved experience for learners, more support for educators, additional opportunities for open education collaboration, and a greater capacity to share even more robust MIT content in the years to come.

Scholarly Publisher Contracts and New Benefits for MIT Authors – MIT Faculty Newsletter

“MIT has been using the Framework for Publisher Contracts to guide negotiations with scholarly publishers for more than two years. This principles-based framework aims to support the needs of scholars, reflect Institute values, and advance scholarship. In a short period of time, MIT has used the framework to reach several agreements with publishers that demonstrate the viability of our approach. We encourage MIT scholars to take advantage of the open access publishing benefits of these agreements….

Elsevier is the one major publisher that remains unwilling to produce a proposal for MIT that aligns with the Framework….”

Open Education, Cultural Collection, and Curation: Focus on HBCUs Tickets, Tue, Mar 8, 2022 at 12:15 PM | Eventbrite

“Although more learners and educators continue to adopt and create open education resources (OERs), there has been a dearth of culturally-relevant content created by and curated for underserved and underrepresented populations. In this Open Learning Talk, we’ll hear from members of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and learn about their journey to opening up and creating a more inclusive canon of OER for HBCUs and the world.

This event is free and open to the public. You are encouraged to submit your question or comment to the speakers through the registration page….”

With purchase of edX, online higher ed company 2U bets big on power of a brand – The Washington Post

“The pandemic that shuttered campuses worldwide last year also created a rare opportunity for online higher education. And a company based in Maryland just placed an $800 million bet that it can seize the moment.

 

For that sum, 2U Inc. bought an online course platform called edX that was created nine years ago as a nonprofit and joint venture of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. The platform has a brand with prestigious origins and more than 40 million registered users around the world….

The company’s track record is not without controversy. The Wall Street Journal reported this month that an online master’s program in social work at the University of Southern California — for which 2U recruits students — had left many graduates with high student loan debt compared to their earnings. The degree had been priced at $115,000….

Some in academia believe Harvard and MIT should have held on to edX as a high-profile nonprofit venture in the growing online world. “Their decision to fold is a major, and potentially fateful, act of betrayal,” Jefferson Pooley, a professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College, wrote in July in the Chronicle of Higher Education….

Net proceeds from the sale have gone to a new nonprofit organization under MIT and Harvard that will explore education innovation….

Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor who was chief executive of edX, has joined 2U as chief open education officer. He said edX’s university partners support the merger. “Not a single partner has opted out because of the deal,” he said….”

 

In Practice: An Interview with Amy Nurnberger (MIT Libraries) · In Practice: Interviews with Practitioners of Open

“In this interview Amy Nurnberger, who is the Program Head, Data Management Services and Interim Department Head, Data and Specialized Services at MIT Libraries, answers questions from Katie Mika about the importance of creating open infrastructure to share and, crucially, cite research data. Amy discusses:

A current MIT project to automatically index research data outputs published by Institute affiliates in open repositories around the world;

The importance of creating and upholding systems of openness and equity in open access movements;

The value of normalizing data citation for developing an understanding of data use and sharing practices; and

Resisting impulses to treat potential or emerging data citation metrics like existing article citation metrics which may replicate existing systemic problems….”

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Open Access Agreement | Scholarly Publishing – MIT Libraries

“The MIT Libraries has negotiated an innovative open access agreement with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) that allows MIT authors to make ACM articles freely available at no cost to them.

Under the agreement, MIT corresponding authors can make all articles and conference proceedings in the ACM Digital Library open access immediately at no cost to the author. Instead, MIT is paying ACM a single bulk fee to cover both article publication costs and subscription access. Authors who elect open access may select a Creative Commons license for article sharing and reuse.

The pilot agreement runs from January 2020 through December 31, 2022, and applies to manuscripts submitted and articles published during that period….”

IBM, MIT and Harvard release DARPA “Common Sense AI” dataset at ICML 2021 | IBM Research Blog

“Before we can build machines that make decisions based on common sense, the AI powering those machines must be capable of more than simply finding patterns in data. It must also consider the intentions, beliefs, and desires of others that people use to intuitively make decisions.

At the 2021 International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), we are releasing a new dataset for benchmarking AI intuition, along with two machine learning models representing different approaches to the problem. The research has been done with our colleagues at MIT and Harvard University to accelerate the development of AI that exhibits common sense. These tools rely on testing techniques that psychologists use to study the behavior of infants….”

What the edX Acquisition Means for the Future of Higher Education

“By entering into this deal, Harvard and MIT have shown that they’re committed to a new business model. That is, they’ll continue their excellence in the residential model for a select few but will also leverage their expertise and teaching resources to provide high-quality education to the masses at affordable prices. To start with, they developed an incredible collection of content in edX, which netted them $800 million. They’ll use that money to further expand their online strategy.

This development should serve as a wakeup call for other colleges and universities. Lamenting a lack of government support and declining enrollments won’t help. They must instead ask how they can orchestrate an ecosystem to offer high-quality education at low cost. They currently follow a vertical integration model where they perform the entire value chain in house, from admitting students all the way to awarding degrees. They must start thinking about how to unbundle the value chain and outsource areas where others possess superior core competencies — for example, to content creators like Outlier.org, outreach platforms like edX, and those in the gaming industry with expertise in artificial and augmented reality and capabilities to create immersive experiences. By partnering and controlling significant parts of value chain instead of resisting them, universities can gain a significant portion of revenues that would steadily migrate toward EdTech companies. Those additional revenues can provide seed capital to universities to drive their own EdTech initiatives. Right now, they’re mere spectators in the game.”

MIT and Harvard Have Sold Higher Education’s Future

“Last week Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sold their edX platform to a for-profit company for $800 million. Founded by the two institutions nearly a decade ago, edX was higher education’s answer to the venture-backed start-ups jostling for an online-course windfall. With the sale to one of those firms, Maryland-based 2U, Harvard and MIT have surrendered. Their decision to fold is a major, and potentially fateful, act of betrayal.

Alan Garber, Harvard’s provost, adopted the language of edX’s profit-maximizing rivals in conceding defeat. “Taking full advantage of [online learning’s] potential,” he told The Harvard Gazette, “will require capital investments at greater scale than is readily attainable for a nonprofit entity like edX.” The decision to sell comes as investor interest in higher education has swelled during the pandemic. Coursera, the Silicon Valley online-course provider, went public in March, and Instructure — the maker of the popular learning-management software Canvas — filed for an IPO last week. The Covid Zoom boom has brought the inevitable wave of start-ups hoping to cash in on the virtual college classroom. So it’s no surprise that the market value of 2U, after the edX announcement, surged past $3 billion.

Before the sale, edX was academe’s public option — a mission-aligned satellite of the brick-and-mortar campus. Now all the major players in the sector are profiteers, legally obligated to maximize shareholder return….

By the turn of the millennium, most societies had handed over their journals to be published by the big commercial players, in exchange for a share of profit. Now most scholarship is published by an oligopolist quintet of information conglomerates that, in turn, charge their college customers usurious fees.

That industry is among the most profitable in the world, in part because academics write and review for free. As the historian Aileen Fyfe has shown, there was nothing inevitable about the joint custody — nonprofit colleges and for-profit publishers — we’ve ended up with. We owe our current predicament, in part, to the decisions of learned societies who chose short-term cash over their scholar-members’ long-term interests. Harvard and MIT have just made the same disastrous miscalculation….

2U’s mission is fundamentally misaligned with the university tradition. 2U, Coursera, and their venture-funded competitors are built to squeeze profit from our students, using our faculty and course offerings. Harvard and MIT had no right, in the meaningful sense, to sell us off. None of us — not faculty members, not students — signed up for edX to increase Silicon Valley’s wallet share. We will look back on this careless abrogation of stewardship as the tragic squandering that it is.”