Massachusetts Institute of Technology has made the bold step of offering most of its course information available, at no charge, on the internet for free. Anyone who wants to can now have access to an education (if not a degree) from one of the top schools in the world. The project is called OpenCourseWare and there are more details in a Wired article and at the OpenCourseWare web site.
Get An MIT Education For Free
2003-08-30 In the News 23 Comments
This is of course a good thing.
Education is a priviledge not a right. You have the right to access education, but to learn is your priviledge.
The OCW website clearly states that
MIT OpenCourseWare is not:
-A degree- or certificate-granting program.
-An MIT education
Yeah, there’s a fair bit of rumour flailing about on slashdot too that you can get a degree from this.
You still need to pay thousands of dollars to get on the course and complete the degree.
This is exposing people to an excellent education, its not meant to be a “piece of paper” for your CV.
I highly endorse it though. With tutorial videos and all the material, its a good educations worth.
Perhaps try practicing the course, then do it for real and ace the tests? Perhaps?!
Yes, a good thing. If this helps in lowering costs? Great.
After reviewing the Math course work, and lectures,
The content will give you a serious jump start on getting your degree _anywhere_ and expose you to interesting and innovative ideas.
You have to put the course materials in perspective, as in materials from MIT >= some courses with the body @ front of room. Its no substitute, but again, the exposure … I wish I had this availble when I was in college, and it will certainlly help with with study in other fields.
Thanks for putting this up, and quite a reward for changing my “first internet read” of the day from Alterslash to OSN.
Say good buy to American jobs.
“Say good buy to American jobs.”
That might be “goodbye”…
It seems that the Indian students who work for me are better at spelling than many of our own citizens. Maybe that is a better reason to say “good buy” to American jobs, rather than some college course being posted on the internet…
You’ve always been able to get the equivalent of a college education for free. It’s called a library card.
Really, it’s for other instructors to be able to use course notes from MIT with their own courses without fear of repercussion. For the student, it’s no big deal — you could always access course notes from all kinds of universities online.
This should also be available yearly on DVDs for purchase once more of the material is in place. When last I checked, many of the courses only had outlines up, though I am sure that the site has since grown. I have been a fan of this since I first heard about it two years ago. Good stuff indeed.
I think it is a very good thing that this material is being put on line. This is what the Web should be used for, not popup adverts for holidays.
However, the handouts are only about 30% of a degree course, or less. You miss the interaction with other students and the direct personal presentation by the lecturers.
This particularly applies to technical and laboratory subjects, where a few minutes of one-to-one tuition in the lab can clear up problems that you might take ages to solve on your own. A university also gives access to expensive equipment, and provides deadlines to push you into actually working instead of thinking about it.
IMO the most suitable subject for home study is literature.
I’ve downloaded some pdfs they are offering and was disappointed. There is nothing in-depth there, just a summary for each lecture — pretty useless if you don’t have any prior knowledge of the subject. And if you do, why would you need it?
So you’re better off reading books.
“Say good buy to American jobs.”
You’re a selfish, ignorant swine. You’re always whining and trolling on OSNews when something free is discussed — be it Linux or education. You’re so scared of this word — FREE.
But don’t abuse the word “American” — not all Americans are like you.
… free? Could some other institution use it? For example, here where i live we don’t speak english (it’s not the native language, that is), and it would be great if we could have courses like these avaliable in our language.
Oh, when i asked if “OpenCourseWare is free?” i’m talking about the tool they’re using (i’m supposing they developed a tool, such as WebCT, Teleduc, etc?), not the *courses*.
I think in future the second and third rate universities will have problems competing. Elite universities will set the course curriculum and the lesser institutes will be largely relegated to teaching the subject matter and supervising laboratory work.
You will eventually go to a local campus and do MIT/Harvard/Oxford/Sorbonne supervised undergraduate subjects whether you live in Melbourne, Mumbai or Memphis. There is huge economy of scale. Most acadmics will, of course, be reduced to low level tutors teaching others’ work.
I agree with couple others here that it looks pretty skimpy. I clicked through several courses and all that was included was a syllabus and lecture outline more or less. You still have to purchase a regular textbook, and I didn’t see any video lectures. As somebody stated, this could be useful for other colleges to base their courses on.
I’m still a firm believer that the quality of education a student receives is determined by the desire effort of the student to learn and grow, not the name or reputation of the school. I very much respect MIT, but I think people get a little spun up about these “elite” schools.
just my .02
i think that the classes will start in the fall session meaning in a couple of a days. The instructor pases himself and is/or recorded when he is teaching. IN any case, it seems pretty good..
I doubt smaller universities will be beholden to Oxford et al’s teaching methods. The smaller guys often have superior undergrad educations, since large universities tend to favor researchers over teachers. Plus, there are a lot of brilliant ones who are uninterested in the rat-races found in mainstream universities.
Of course, if you look at Abelson and Sussman’s video lectures at MIT, you’ll probably see that all these arguments are only first approximations to reality.
“Most acadmics will, of course, be reduced to low level tutors teaching others’ work.”
Happens quite often now anyways. It is not uncommon to take a fall semester class with a professor who is using the same powerpoint presentation developed by a grad student from the summer. I see it as an improvement over what would have otherwise been a useless lecture from a lazy professor just wanting to get back to his research.
Not just at the undergrad level, I have experienced that at the doctoral level as well. I teach at a local community college and do use the stock presentations/materials provided by the text authors… but only after I have reviewed and tweaked them to be specific to *my* lecture. I use the text to highlight and supplement my knowledge and understanding, not the other way around.
Otherwise, why expect the students to walk in at all? Have them read the text and show up for exams.
While this won’t substitute a good college education, any knowledge gained is positive.
The course referenced in the article was excellent, and a few others are good too. But most of them are just syllabi. A lot don’t even have lecture notes. A lot of the problem is that they are teaching from copyrighted material that they can’t just post to the web.
rather. Say Hello to humanity.