Boy does it. OCW went live as a pilot program in 2002 with 50 courses. Five years later, MIT celebrated the publishing of its 1,800th course, and today more than 250 schools around the world have similar programs -- many participating through the OCW Consortium, set up by MIT to help other schools follow its example. MIT estimates that 56 million people have accessed its courses alone, either directly from OCW or from its six translation sites. The 200-plus members of the OCW Consortium saw 15.7 million visits in the first quarter of this year alone. Apple created iTunes U to distribute classes in audio and video. YouTube has a channel called YouTube EDU.
And there's much more beyond MIT -- sites like Academic Earth (a clearinghouse for lectures from scholars and intellectuals), Google Code University, and thousands of free or for-profit sites teaching everything from Swedish to how to build and service solar cells. It's a rich, burbling, overwhelming world. You could easily tumble down this rabbit hole and emerge weeks later, bearded, bleary-eyed and the most annoying party guest of all time. Or you could find that you're not as smart as you thought you were.
"In physics we explore the very small to the very large," Lewin said. He stood in front of the class in pleated khaki cargo pants and a blousy blue oxford and spoke with the sort of vague, undefined European accent that would make him an excellent foil for James Bond. (He turns out to be Dutch.) Lewin dismissed the American system of measure as "extremely uncivilized" and said his class would be based on the metric system. Then he rolled the film "Powers of 10," at which point my screen went black and a note indicated that copyright prevented the film from being included.
Day one, and I'd already stumbled on an important limitation of the OCW experience. MIT (or any school) doesn't have the right to give away copyrighted materials such as films or textbooks used in class. In the case of the former, it's often not much of an issue; I just went to YouTube and dialed up the slightly dated (and moderately psychedelic) 1977 film made by Ray and Charles Eames to depict the relative size of things in the universe. But when it comes to books, it's a stumbling block.
I was operating under the misguided notion that I could survive this experiment using only what was completely free, so I chose not to click the amazon.com link to order the textbook. That turned out to be a major problem. It quickly became clear that I was not equipped with the same foundational basis in math or physics that the students in this first-semester freshman physics course were, and without the supplemental text, I had no additional tool for decoding Lewin's scribbles. Obviously, I couldn't ask a question, either.
I stuck with it, for a while. In a week, I watched three of Lewin's 50-minute lectures and understood almost none of them. The stunts for which he's become famous are undeniably entertaining -- I think it's fair to call this prop-wielding genius the Gallagher of science -- but at the end of each hour I'd look down at my scrawls and realize they were useless to me. They looked like hieroglyphics.
I got that long-dormant lost-in-class feeling that triggers notebook doodles and clock watching, and I started to dread "going." And so, in a departure lounge at Miami International Airport, around the time Lewin said, "We now come to a much more difficult part, and that is multiplication of vectors," I decided to drop the class.
Thank God for Flash Cards
The guilt I felt over my failure to absorb higher math was soon offset by two things. First, I realized that unlike in college, there was no consequence or embarrassment to dropping the class. No walk of shame to the registrar's office, and it's not as if Lewin would miss me. Two, I was getting more bilingual by the day.
After hunting for the perfect online language course, I'd settled on a Romanian class from BYKI (Before You Know It), a for-profit site with a broad selection of free options, including a boiled-down version of its software that enables you to study vocabulary and basic grammar using a program of downloadable pop-up flash cards. The idea is to hook you and hope you'll pay up to $70 for the full version, but what's free is substantial; plenty, it seemed, to crash-prepare for a trip. I wasn't actually going to Romania, I was simply curious about the tongue that I'd recently learned is the fifth Romance language. In fact, I happened to have a trip scheduled to a place where Romanian would do me no good at all: Ecuador.
On day five, lying on the musty sheets of a hotel bed in Quito, I learned to count from one to 10 in Romanian in less than half an hour using the program's highly intuitive card system. It starts by having you read and repeat the words in English and Romanian and then has you type the translation both ways. It's self-correcting, and when you miss a word, that word is given higher priority and appears more often until you've proven that you've learned it. It works. By the time I headed out for the night, I could transcribe a phone number in Romanian.
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Behavioral Economics and Decision Making
Copyright for Educators
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Poker and strategic thinking
I love MIT on youtube, I watch it all the time. My favorite is Aircraft Systems Engineering which is all about the development of the space shuttle with lectures by many of the people who developed it. Oh and you can ask questions, the youtube community that watches these video's often respond to your queries.
holy crap i'm going back to school. well not school but home computer screen school!
this is a good thing, distribute fine education on a massive scale and you end up accelerating progress.
this is exactly what the world needs right now.
no i'm not being sarcastic.
So why can't a real university establish a program based on MIT's lectures quiz's and exams but without suffering the enormous cost in buildings and salaries. Graduate student assistance and labs following the course content could be provided at a minimal cost.
Graduates could write state or federal level professional exams for PE type standing. A competition could be held to compare the skill of real MIT grads to off campus graduates.
An excellent way to give poor and 2nd 3rd world students an education and recognition they could only dream of. Seems like a huge waste to have every school in the world duplicating the efforts of the best and brightest at MIT.
I definitely saw this same information on the NYTimes blog, but I don't think that online learning should replace classroom interaction. I think that it should facilitate the learning experience and replace tutoring. I believe sites like Thinkwell and MindBites are the future of tutoring and will replace test preparation schools like Kaplan and Sylavan Learning and The Princeton Review. MindBites offers individual lessons on specific subjects for a small fee of $0.99 while The Princeton Review makes you pay for a full course overview. Judge for yourself: mindbites.com/category/5-education
Education expenses is really depressing. Especially today, I am experiencing hardship to send my children to school because our income fluctuated badly. I used to have cash advance to sustain the daily needs of my family. At the same time working so hard.
here is the link to apply online: http://personalmoneystore.com/Cash-Advance/
i hate school. why couldnt they think of something else
What! No Football!
I Google Everything. Anything you could possibly want to know has been exploited on the internet one way or another.
Not just intellectual information but even the all the pointless stuff. Anything else you can theorize and then get all the similar variable's of truth on the internet to support your logic.
Learning by yourself allows you to do things your own way that may not have been done before, possibly resulting in a more efficient way of learning. Being self taught is a great way to learn. Learning how to do things whether its hands on skill, or observing another beings technique.
I want to learn as much about nature as possible. So I pragmatically theorize about the most common anomaly's to life. Example : Existence of All Matter existing Within the Gamma Gradient radiated energy, including the X-ray and Ultra Violet spectrum's. To find some answers I will Google others thoughts on the subject, by searching for the subject itself.
Learning new words and new definitions I gain Understanding and then I express my understanding and debate in order to get an answer or somewhere closer.
The Internet has been the most important technological advantage to mankind since the telephone. Both, being communication tools. Human Communication is Very Important, because the more we can Teach Each Other, the Faster we all get there.
Take what is Available, Give What is Not.
The information of the world's most brilliant minds is within a search engine. So Take It. If you haven't seen a concept your interested in, Post is Somewhere and you will get feedback.
As a senior at MIT, I am not surprised that he struggled with 8.01 for several reasons.
1. It is a hard class. Many of the actual students were confused too. I know I struggled with the math.
2. No recitations! 8.01 has two or three hour long recitations a week with a professor. You work problems and ask questions. With ocw, you only get half of the instruction.
3. No textbook. The 8.01 textbook is well written, and useful. I spent many hours re-reading sections.
4. What about problem sets? They should be online as well, with solutions, but you didn't mention doing them. You actually understand the material by working problems. You would have to be some sort of mega-genius to lean without them.
5. Other students. On my hall, there is a pset party every night where the freshmen work on the 8.01/8.02 problem set together. I know I wouldn't have survived without friends who had a better understanding of the math.
Anyway, that's my two cents. Don't feel bad for "droping" the class :)
the teachers in the actual campuses MAKE SURE you know the info so they can get that piece of paper called a diploma and with computers there are methods of "cheating" if you will...so they dont give you diplomas by e-mail, insecure. As easy as that
If you live in very remote area and if you can understand english, you can learn quite a lot. Specially if you combine video lectures with torrents and other P2P technologies. But the applicability of knowledge remains mostly in the hands of politics. We need video lectures for leaders.
With education becoming more and more expensive, a lot of people are not able to afford college and pursuing an online degree may be their only chance of getting a higher education. What’s more, online education degrees are now being regarded as equal in value to their traditional, classroom counterparts. Many universities, such as the Independence University www.independence.edu , offer a wide choice of distance learning courses that you can pursue at your own pace. How much you take away from these courses will depend on how committed and honest you are to the effort.
I don't think having lectures available to view really gets you very far into a subject.
Many years ago, I studied Physics at Cambridge. But I rarely went to lectures. These were not really the important part. To be honest some of the lecturers were appalling in their delivery and just said out loud what was in the book they had published.
Tutorials and problems set for those tutorials were the bread and butter of the learning. All the material in the lectures was available in the various text books, but it was actually the individualised challenges set in the small tutorial groups of 2 or 3 students, and the feedback we got that really made the difference.
Physics is not about 'learning stuff', its about being able to 'do stuff', solve problems. We would often be asked tutorial questions that noone had the answer for yet. so learning information would not have helped.
I suspect that a similar situation exists for other subjects be it engineering or humanities, languages etc. It's the exercises that the learner goes through to learn the skill or gain the knowledge that makes the difference.
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Internet courses are very useful . I for one, never go to classes and study at home. Online courses can really help when you get stuck. Only thing you have to watch for is that the course is relevant to your studies.Anyway I think it's a great initiative.
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I’m in my 30s and I still enjoy learning about new subjects. Online learning has given me limitless opportunities to expand my knowledge and all from the comfort of my home office. I may not be receiving any degrees but that’s not why I do it - I do it for the love of learning and that itself is priceless!
I am sure they will have more to employ later. Good luck for the team!
For his dynamic teaching and frequent stunts (building a human pendulum, firing golf balls at glass panels), he's been downloaded by physics enthusiasts around the globe and profiled on the front page of the New York Times as the first luminary of online open learning.www.thaicartrick.com