January 16, 2007

M.I.T. for free?

Well, I read an interesting article in the csmonitor recently. It was about a movement in education that started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It's called OpenCourseWare (OCW). Apparently, this is a program that provides free online access to course materials (such as syllabi, homework assignments and even audio/visual lectures) from various courses taught among 120 participating universities. At the moment, MIT has published 1550 of it's courses for OCW access. The content is absolutely free, and can be accessed anywhere in the world. And it's not just undergraduate courses. You can look at reading lists for intro. psychology at one moment and listen to audio lectures for graduate physics courses the next. It's really quite fascinating.

I find this receptacle of information very promising . I know that I will be visiting their OCW site for as much psychology, biology and physics that I can handle. I guess the catch is that you have to at least have access to a computer and an internet connection to reap any of the benefits of OCW. Also, OCW courses are not meant to replace a college/university education. You won't find any of the needed communication/collaboration with students and professors that you are usually exposed to in the classroom. Nonetheless, this seems like a really great opportunity for those interested.

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