Bringing Open CourseWare to North Korea

I was just interviewed by Voice of America about my trip with Choson Exchange last September to take Open CourseWare to North Korea: 북한 대학, 고도의 자료 공유체계 구축 [audio recording]

It's all in Korean, so here is an executive summary of the key points in English:

We took OCW and Wikibooks to North Korea and presented them at the Pyongyang Intl Sci and Tech Book Fair. Choi Thae Bok, one of the highest leaders in NK, came to inspect our books and said "every student and professor in NK needs access to these materials", so he called the Dean of Kim Chaek University (the "MIT of North Korea") to come meet with us.

The reporter asked about Internet access in NK. Some people have access to the Internet at high levels, and they copy information from the Internet and put it on the national Intranet (human-based content filtering).

Finally North Korea has an extensive book scanning project where they digitize thousands of books and make them accessible to anyone with access to the Intranet. Their book scanning project and their computer labs were pretty advanced, they had all the latest Dell and HP computer equipment with big flat panel monitors, and the computers all had signs on them that read, "Gift from the Great General Kim Jong Il".


  1. Maybe they already have their own "juchefied" version of Wikipedia and such, like China's Baidu Baike. I wonder if they'll allow Noam Chomsky's lectures.......

  2. It is good to know that North Korea embraces the new technology and updates their resources with digitized materials, however I hope these are accessible to more citezens there so that everyone could experience the new technology and increase their knowledge. I am bothered that their government might be limiting these resources to a very few people. document scanning services

  3. I agree with Jayden. It is good for North Korea that they are not late when it comes to technologies but I hope they do not use this for unfriendly reasons. Maybe they have email encryption software to keep documents confidential, which is quite dangerous.