Lessons from Introducing OpenCourseWare in North Korea

One of our aims is to introduce OpenCourseWare in North Korea. We presented the concept behind OpenCourseWare and demonstrated some course materials in Economics, Physics and Mathematics during a trip to Pyongyang this year. It was very warmly received with a senior Party member arranging for us to meet the dean of a university to explain the materials in greater details. What I found interesting about the process was:

1. The North Koreans we met were very interested when we mentioned the big-name American universities that contributed to OpenCourseWare. The people we met were aware of famous American universities and seemed interested in what they had to offer.

2. It was only after the high level party official expressed his interest in the OpenCourseWare materials that people were willing to ask more about the materials. Hierarchy obviously matters a lot and having a top-level person give his approval made others willing to act on introducing these materials into the system.