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Letters to the editor

OpenCourseWare remains free

I am writing to provide some background to The Tech’s September 28 “In Short” titled “OpenCourseWare will remain as a free service despite rumors.”

A handful of recent news articles (including one earlier this week in the New York Times online) have reported that MIT is considering placing OpenCourseWare behind a pay wall. These articles stemmed from remarks about e-learning that were made by an MIT administrator at a recent education conference in Paris, and were based on a misinterpretation of the administrator’s remarks. These reports are completely untrue.

It is common knowledge here at MIT that OCW has been hard at work for the last couple of years to ensure its long-term financial sustainability. Key components of the effort include reducing our costs, increasing donations, and implementing approaches that will enhance the revenue we generate to support OCW. However, putting OCW content behind a pay wall has never been under discussion. The content on MIT OpenCourseWare will continue to be free and available online, as it has always been.

Like other universities, MIT is constantly exploring new educational opportunities — including the possibility of e-learning projects — but MIT has no plans to charge for access to MIT OpenCourseWare content. See MIT’s press release responding to the pay wall articles at http://web.mit.edu/press/2010/ocw-paywall.html

I would like to thank The Tech for helping us get out the facts.

— Cecilia d’Oliveira
Executive Director, OpenCourseWare

Learning about Greek life takes time

Fraternities have been in The Tech a lot recently. Some of it is routine, (Rush) but the rest of it: not so much (major judicial sanctions). But one thing these articles seem to have in common is that they consist of dorm residents trying to explain elements of fraternity life matter-of-factly (e.g. why you should wait until sophomore year to pledge, why the IFC is a bad idea, and so on). Let me just say that I’ve been an active part of the fraternity system since I pledged about six years ago, and I’m still learning about it. So I have to wonder how on Earth those with no experience with Greek life whatsoever feel qualified to make such sweeping claims. It would be like me, a Course XVI major, trying to definitively tell a biologist about better research methods. I’d be laughed out of Building 68.

Fraternities are part of MIT culture, so naturally everyone will have their opinions. I only ask that those who were never affiliated show a little more humility when airing their thoughts.

— Akil J. Middleton ’08