English | Japanese

Keynote Talk: 21st Friday, 10:00-11:00

Open Culture on the Web: Benefits and Risks

What happens when content that was virtually inaccessible except to a selected few suddenly becomes widely and freely accessible? I will speak about two such projects at MIT that I have been involved with. One is OpenCourseWare, which has made course content from all MIT courses available freely on the Web, and over 1 million people use it from all over the world, about a fourth of them accessing content that has been translated into one of several languages, such as Chinese and Spanish. What does this mean for learning and communicating across cultural boundaries? Second is Visualizing Cultures (visualizingcultures.mit.edu), a web-based history project, which has made available on OCW thousands of historically valuable images from major museums such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Smithsonian that were virtually inaccessible before. High schoolers and university students can study Asian history using visuals that open doors to understanding other cultures in new ways. But images imbued with cultural and political signifiers can easily lead to misunderstandings as well, particularly when separated from proper context, something we experienced with some images of the Sino-Japanese War.

BLACK SHIPS and SAMURAI, MIT Visualizing Cultures

Shigeru Miyagawa
(Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair of MIT OpenCourseWare Committee)

Shigeru Miyagawa is Head of Foreign Languages & Literatures at MIT, and is Professor of Linguistics and holds the Kochi-Manjiro Chair, Professor of Japanese Language and Culture. He is also Chair of MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Committee. His linguistics publications include several books/monographs and nearly fifty articles. For his work in interactive media, such as “Star Festival,” “JP NET,” and “Visualizing Cultures,” he has been awarded the MIT Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award, the Irwin Sizer Award for the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education, Best of Show at the MacWorld Exposition, Distinguished Award from Multimedia Grandprix 2000, and was named by the magazine Converge as one of twenty national “Shapers of the Future.” He was on the original MIT faculty team that recommended Open Course Ware.