Important Note

Tufts ended funding for its Open Courseware initiative in 2014. We are now planning to retire this site on June 30, 2018. Content will be available for Tufts contributors after that date. If you have any questions about this please write to

Tufts OpenCourseware
Courses by School
Tufts Open Educational Resources (OER)
Tufts University

Tufts OpenCourseWare (OCW) offers the following answers to common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Website. Click on a subject heading below to view questions and answers relating to your selection. Links throughout the answers will guide you to further information. Should you have any further questions, please send us a message using the form on our Contact Us page.

About Tufts OpenCourseWare
Using Tufts OCW Materials
Intellectual Property
Technology Requirements
Information Collected About Users
Other Questions

1 About Tufts OpenCourseWare

1.1 What is Tufts OpenCourseWare?

The ultimate vision of the Tufts OCW initiative is to support and advance education by making high-quality content freely available on the Web for learners and faculty across the nation and the world. Modeled after MIT's OpenCourseWare Initiative (, the Tufts OCW initiative encourages the publication and free exchange of course materials on the World Wide Web. The venture continues Tufts? tradition of knowledge sharing as part of our non-profit mission and as part of Tufts leadership in civic engagement.

Tufts University launched the OCW initiative with a pilot showcase of open materials for a limited number of subjects in June of 2005. This is a pilot proof-of-concept project that will continue based on the results and continued funding.

1.2 Why is Tufts doing this?

Tufts is participating in the OCW initiative to address the following goals:

  • Instill the custom of sharing knowledge with the world as habitual practice at Tufts
  • Reinforce the University?s three major themes: Internationalism, Life Sciences and Environment, and Active Citizenship
  • Promote collaboration - "One Tufts", by bringing faculty and courses from various disciplines together in one location, and by drawing on staff and resources from across the University for implementation
  • Promote the use of the OpenCourseWare initiative
  • Facilitate faculty engagement with global colleagues, which can elevate teaching and research/scholarship

1.3 How does Tufts OCW differ from other types of web-based education, including distance learning?

Tufts OCW differs from other Tufts web-based education offerings in that it is free and open, does not provide university credit, and grants no access to university faculty. Tufts OCW is not a distance learning initiative. Distance learning involves the active exchange of information between faculty and students, with the goal of obtaining some form of a credential. Increasingly, distance learning is also limited to those willing and able to pay for materials or course delivery. Tufts OCW is not meant to replace degree-granting higher education or for-credit courses. Rather, the goal is to provide the content that supports an education, whether it be for professor, student, or self-learner.

Many individual faculty members at Tufts and other universities already use the web extensively to make standard course materials available to their students. Some colleges and universities now require a website for every class. But to a large extent, these websites are designed for and access is only provided to the students enrolled at these institutions. OCW is an unprecedented effort of a much broader magnitude, as the goal is to provide course materials free to the world.

1.4 Who else is involved in the OCW initiative with Tufts?

Visit other OpenCourseWare sites from around the world.?

1.5 Will Tufts OCW offer courses and degrees?

No. Tufts OCW will make course materials freely accessible on the World Wide Web. The Tufts OCW initiative is not a distance learning or a degree- or certificate-granting initiative and will not offer courses for credit or fees. Distance learning involves active interaction between faculty and students, with the goal of obtaining credit and some form of a credential. Typically, distance learning content is limited to those who register and pay for materials or course delivery.

2. Using Tufts OCW Materials

2.1 How do I register to use Tufts OCW course materials?

Because Tufts OCW is not a distance learning or a degree-granting initiative, there is no registration process required for users to view course materials.

2.2 Where are the course materials?

The materials are available on the webpage for each course. Materials are grouped in standard ways: syllabus (course overview), calendar (schedule) etc. To find out what courses are available at this time, view complete course lists by schools on the Tufts OCW Homepage or the Schools page, or view the complete course list on the Courses page. Once you have accessed a particular course homepage, the left-hand navigation bar will detail what materials are available for the course.

2.3 How can I use Tufts OCW course materials?

Educators are encouraged to use the materials for curriculum development. Students can augment their current learning by making use of the materials offered, and self-learners can draw upon Tufts OCW for self-study or supplementary use. Course materials offered on the Tufts OCW Website may be used, copied, distributed, translated, and modified, but only for non-commercial educational purposes that are made freely available to other users under the terms defined by the Tufts OCW Legal Notice. Tufts OCW materials require appropriate source attribution. Third party materials require permission from the appropriate owner.

2.4 What are the academic prerequisites to use Tufts OCW materials?

Because Tufts OCW is not a distance learning or a degree-granting initiative, there is no registration process required for users to view course materials. There are also no prerequisites for users who use Tufts OCW course materials for their own learning. However, each course site indicates the prerequisites and co-requisites that are required of Tufts students.

2.5 I have seen (or I am/represent) an individual, organization, or institution that offers to teach Tufts courses or tutor students based on Tufts materials. Does Tufts approve or recognize such individuals or organizations?

No, Tufts has no relationship with, grants no special permission to, and does not approve, endorse, or certify any organizations, teachers, tutors, or other service providers who use educational materials available on the Tufts OCW Website in connection with their services. Except for students admitted to Tufts and enrolled at the University, Tufts does not authorize the granting of any kind of degree, certificate, or other recognition for participation in or completion of any course of study based on or using published Tufts course materials.

2.6 Can I/my organization state on our website or in our literature that we make use of Tufts OCW course materials?

In accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons license used by Tufts OCW, you must give credit to Tufts and the faculty author of the course materials anytime you use Tufts OCW materials. However, any reference to Tufts University (including the Tufts name in any of its forms or Tufts seals or logos) that claims or (in Tufts? sole judgment) gives the appearance or impression of a relationship with or endorsement by Tufts is prohibited.

2.7 Can I link to the Tufts OCW Website from my website?

Links to Tufts OCW or to courses or pages within the Tufts OCW Website are permitted so long as the use of the materials associated with the link is permitted under the terms of the Creative Commons license used by Tufts OCW, the link is freely accessible (e.g., no restrictions or fee for access) and there is no claim, appearance, or implication of an affiliation with or endorsement by Tufts University. Tufts OCW cannot guarantee the persistence of any specific link other than those to the Tufts OCW Homepage.

3. Content

3.1 Which courses were selected, and why?

Initially, Tufts was asked to provide courses in its areas of expertise that are unique to the initiative, that is, the Life Sciences and International Issues. Discussions among the relevant faculty and deans at Tufts led to the selection of the pilot courses. We have also added courses from the School of Arts and Sciences.

3.2 Why is there such variation in the breadth and depth of content presented on individual Tufts OCW course websites?

Each Tufts OCW course website is developed individually with the participating faculty and instructors. It includes as much of the Tufts faculty member's course materials as is available in a digital format, or can be cost-effectively prepared and is free of intellectual property and copyright restrictions. Tufts faculty and instructors only participate voluntarily, and publish only as much content as they are comfortable having on a website that is freely accessible worldwide.

3.3 Why do some Tufts OCW course webpages lack solutions to assignments, quizzes, and exams?

In some cases, solutions to homework assignments, quizzes, and exams are only discussed and presented in the classroom, and not made available in print or electronic format to the students - or to the worldwide community of visitors to the Tufts OCW Website. In other cases, the instructors plan to re-use in their Tufts classroom the assignments, quizzes, and exams, and they do not wish to widely publish their solutions.

3.4 How can I contribute my own educational materials to Tufts OCW?

The intent of Tufts OCW is that our website should reflect the course materials being taught at Tufts. However, we encourage other universities to create their own "opencourseware" in which materials from their courses would be posted online and openly shared with the world.

3.5 How can I make suggestions for other courses to add?

You can use the form on the Contact Us page to send us your suggestions.

4. Intellectual Property

The Creative Commons (CC) license protects the copyright holder?s works while encouraging certain uses of the works. Tufts OCW has chosen the following CC license option which applies to most content published on the site: Attribution, Noncommercial, and Share Alike. This allows for the reuse and the creation of derivative works as long as attribution to the original copyright holder is given and it is for noncommercial purposes. Please see the Creative Commons License for more information. See Sections 4.2 and 4.3 of this Help page for specific instructions for users wishing to use Tufts OCW content.

4.1 Who owns the intellectual property published on the Tufts OCW Website?

The course materials published by Tufts are licensed under a Creative Commons license. Faculty retain copyright of their content. The terms of distribution and modification are determined by the authors and copyright holders during the content submission process. The intellectual property policies created for Tufts OCW are clear and consistent with other policies for scholarly materials used in education. Tufts retains ownership of certain materials only when significant use has been made of the University?s resources. If student course work is placed on the Tufts OCW site, then copyright of the work remains with the student.

Faculty take final responsibility for their materials. It would be difficult for Tufts OCW staff to guarantee the accuracy and originality of materials submitted for consideration. Prior to accepting any course materials for open publication, faculty are asked to review and verify ownership of the content submitted.

4.2 What are the requirements of use for Tufts OCW materials?

Content published by Tufts OCW may be used, copied, distributed, translated, and modified, as specified under the Creative Commons license. Your use of the Tufts OpenCourseWare site and course materials is subject to our Creative Commons License and other terms of use. Please refer to the Tufts OCW Legal Notices page for our specific licensing terms and conditions.

Tufts grants the right to anyone to use the materials on Tufts OCW either "as is," or in a modified form. There are three requirements that a Tufts OCW user must meet to use the materials:

  1. Noncommercial. Use of Tufts OCW materials is open to all except for profit-making entities who charge a fee for access to educational materials or otherwise use the materials or derivatives of the materials for commercial purposes.
  2. Attribution. Any and all use or reuse of the material, including use of derivative works (new materials that incorporate or draw on the original materials), must include an attribution of the original materials to Tufts and, if a faculty member's name is associated with the material, to that person as well.
  3. Share Alike (a/k/a "copyleft"). Any publication or distribution of the original materials or derivative works which are based on these materials, including production of electronic or printed class materials or placement of materials on a Website, must offer the works freely and openly to others under the same terms that Tufts OCW first made the works available to the user.

EXCEPTIONS: Use of certain materials, such as photos, graphics, or other objects, contained in the OCW Website is restricted by license agreements between Tufts and other parties. These materials are identified with following symbol and phrase: "* Restricted Use." Unless otherwise noted, you must seek permission directly from the licensor or copyright owner to reuse these materials. It is the responsibility of each user to ensure that he or she uses the materials contained in OCW in accordance with U.S. copyright law and any other applicable law and in accordance with the license and terms of use in this license and any additional restrictions applicable to specific OCW Materials.

4.3 How do I properly cite my reuse of Tufts OCW materials?

Content published by Tufts OCW may be used, copied, distributed, translated, and modified, as specified under the Creative Commons license. Please refer to the Tufts OCW Legal Notices page for our specific licensing terms and conditions.

If you choose to reuse or repost Tufts OCW materials you must give proper attribution to the original Tufts faculty author(s). Please utilize the following citation "This material was created by or adapted from material posted on the Tufts OpenCourseWare website,, and created by Tufts University faculty member (Name), (Title), (Year). Copyright ? (Year) (Faculty Member's Name). Tufts OCW is not responsible for any changes made to the original materials posted on its website and any such changes are the sole responsibility of [name of user/adapter]."

You must also include a copy of the Creative Commons license used by Tufts OCW, with every copy of the Tufts materials or the derivative work you create from it.

4.4 How does Tufts define non-commercial use?

A non-commercial use is one that does not involve the assessment of a direct or indirect fee for use of the Tufts OCW materials, or any derivation or modification of the Tufts OCW material, or any other commercial exploitation of Tufts OCW materials. All uses, reuse, and distribution of Tufts OCW material, including works derived from Tufts OCW material, must be attributed to Tufts OCW and to the original authors where identified on the Tufts OCW materials you distribute.

4.5 What do I do if I believe a portion of OCW material infringes my copyright?

Tufts OCW, prior to making any Tufts OCW materials publicly available, has asked its contributing faculty to confirm that they either own or have a license to use all included material. Tufts OCW will promptly remove any material that is determined to be infringing on the rights of others. If you believe that a portion of OCW material infringes another's copyright, please contact us. If you do not include an electronic signature with your claim, you may be asked to send or fax a follow-up copy with a signature. To file the notification, you must be either the copyright owner of the work or an individual authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner. Your notification must include:

  1. Identification of the copyrighted work, or, in the case of multiple works at the same location, a representative list of such works at that site.
  2. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity. You must include sufficient information, such as a specific URL or other specific identification, for us to locate the material.
  3. Information for us to be able to contact the claimant (e.g., email address, phone number).
  4. A statement that the claimant believes that the use of the material has not been authorized by the copyright owner or an authorized agent.
  5. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate and that the claimant is, or is authorized to act on behalf of, the copyright owner.

5. Faculty

5.1 Are Tufts faculty required to participate in Tufts OCW?

Participation of Tufts faculty in Tufts OCW is completely voluntary.

5.2 How do I contact a specific member of the Tufts faculty?

Tufts OCW is intended as a publication of Tufts course materials on the Web, not as an interactive experience with Tufts faculty. Tufts OCW does not offer visitors to the Website the opportunity for direct contact with Tufts faculty. Inquiries related to specific course materials will be forwarded to the Tufts faculty member associated with that course for their consideration. However, due to the potential volume of email inquiries, it is unlikely he or she will answer all emails.

5.3 Will inquiries to Tufts OCW be answered?

Tufts OCW encourages users to provide comments on the site and the published course materials. The comments and constructive criticism of users will help the Tufts OCW staff improve the site and published course materials as we continue to evolve. Tufts OCW will respond via email to all constructive comments and inquiries.

6. Translation

6.1 Is it within the Tufts OCW Use License to translate the course materials?

Tufts requires that any Tufts OCW materials translated into other languages from the original English must be accompanied by the following disclaimer in the language into which they have been translated: "These Tufts OpenCourseWare course materials have been translated into [YOUR LANGUAGE] by [YOUR INSTITUTION] and Tufts OpenCourseWare makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the materials, express or implied, including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, or the absence of errors, whether or not discoverable. Tufts OpenCourseWare bears no responsibility for any inaccuracies in translation. Any inaccuracies or other defects contained in this material, due to inaccuracies in language translation, are the sole responsibility of [YOUR INSTITUTION] and not Tufts OpenCourseWare. The original English materials on which this translation is based may be found at [INSERT WEBSITE ADDRESS]."

7. Technology Requirements

7.1 What are the technical requirements for viewing Tufts OCW course materials?

The majority of Tufts OCW course sites work on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms and on all major browsers. Although higher-speed connections are preferable, slower connections should allow users to view most materials on the site. However, downloading materials may take somewhat longer.

7.1.1 Screen Resolution
Viewing the Tufts OCW Website is optimized for 1024 x 768 pixels.

7.2 Why does a PDF (Portable Document Format) not open correctly in my Acrobat Reader?

The PDF documents offered on the Tufts OCW Website are compatible with Adobe Acrobat 5.0 Reader or above. If you would like to view a PDF, we recommend downloading the most recent free Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Website at If you have a problem with a PDF, please contact us. In your message, be sure to include your version number of Adobe Acrobat, your browser type and version as well as what operating system you are using. Also, if you would identify the course, section and name of the PDF that would assist us in locating and correcting it.

7.3 How do I view video?

Video is in Adobe's Flash format or Real Media's RealPlayer format. If you cannot view a video, please download the latest free Flash Player at or Real Networks, Inc. free RealPlayer at

8. Information Collected about Users

8.1 What are "cookies" and does Tufts OCW make use of cookies on its Website?

Tufts OCW's use of cookies is designed to be unobtrusive, and we do not collect personally identifiable information through their use. We do collect the time you access a page, the page you access and information about your web address and browser. However, if you do not wish to accept cookies, the "Help" portion of the toolbar on most Web browsers will tell you how to prevent your browser from accepting new cookies, how to have the browser notify you when you receive a new cookie, or how to disable cookies altogether. Disabling cookies will in no way affect your access to content on the Tufts OCW site. If you leave cookies enabled on your Web browser, you will be asked only once to complete a brief questionnaire that will help us gain a better understanding of the use and impact of Tufts OCW.

8.2 What information does Tufts OCW collect from visitors to the Website?

The information we learn from visitors helps us improve the Tufts OCW Website, and assists our sponsors in evaluation of usage, access, and impact of Tufts OCW on the worldwide educational community. Tufts OCW collects the following information from visitors:

Information You Provide: We receive and store any information you enter on our website or give us in any other way such as when you submit feedback from the user survey on the site or contact us by email. This information may include your name and email address, your academic status, your institution, your geographic region, how you are using Tufts OCW, and what you think of OCW. In all cases, any information you provide is strictly optional and voluntary and you may choose to use the OCW site without ever providing this information. If you voluntarily provide your email address or other contact information, we will not share personal information with anyone without first requesting your explicit permission to do so.

Automatic Information: We receive and store certain types of information whenever you interact with the Tufts OCW Website. Examples of the information we collect and analyze include the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Tufts OCW site; computer and connection information such as browser type and version, operating system, and platform, and; content you viewed or searched for during your visit to Tufts OCW. During some visits we may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, download errors, and length of visits to certain pages. However, none of this information is personally identifiable or linked back to you individually.

Email Communications: We maintain a list of interested visitors who voluntarily provide their email addresses.

8.3 Does Tufts OCW share the information it receives?

Information about our site visitors is an important part of understanding and extending the impact of Tufts OCW in the worldwide academic community. Individual personally identifiable information about users (name, email address, etc.) will not be made available to third parties without your permission, nor will it ever be used for commercial purposes. We may share user information with institutions interested in the "opencourseware movement." We are committed to sharing what we learn in public forums, at educational conferences, and with other educational institutions. This may include aggregate data about usage of the site, feedback we have received, and the impact of Tufts OCW on people throughout the world.

9. Other Questions

9.1 How can I support Tufts OCW with a financial donation?

We would greatly welcome any financial contributions to Tufts OCW. If you wish to make such a donation, please make your check payable to "Tufts University" and enclose a note indicating that the contribution is for Tufts OpenCourseWare. You can mail your check to: Tufts University P.O. Box 3306 Boston, MA 02241-3306 or visit the Donate page.

9.2 How do I apply for admission to Tufts University as a student?

Anyone interested in applying to be a full-time student at Tufts University is encouraged to contact the appropriate Tufts admissions office. The Schools represented in the Tufts OCW Website are found below. Addresses for other Tufts University Schools can be found at

School Address
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Office of Admissions
200 Westboro Road
North Grafton, Massachusetts 02536
School of Dental Medicine Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Office of Admissions
One Kneeland Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
The Fletcher School The Fletcher School Office of Admissions
160 Packard Avenue
Medford, Massachusetts 02155
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Nutrition Admissions
150 Harrison Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
School of Medicine Tufts University School of Medicine Office of Admissions
136 Harrison Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
School of Arts and Sciences Tufts University Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Bendetson Hall
Medford, MA 02155

9.3 How do I apply for admission to Tufts University as an international student?

For additional information on the admission process for international students, please refer to the sites below:

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
School of Engineering
School of Medicine (Public Health and Professional Degree Programs)
The Fletcher School
Undergraduate Admissions for School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering