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Education

MIT Open Courseware with 500 Courses 318

Comp Bio Guy writes "As promised, MIT has finally released 500 courses worth of lecture notes, syllabi, and exams to provide a 'free and open educational resource for faculty, students, and self-learners around the world.' Take a look (and maybe a test or two) at MIT's OCW site."
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MIT Open Courseware with 500 Courses

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  • by Muerto ( 656791 ) <{david} {at} {vitanza.net}> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:37PM (#7096836)
    I hope that information will someday be " free as in beer " for everyone. Now if you are born poor you will most likely stay poor... and this is changing. The internet has been a great gift to everyone... it brings people of all income levels to an even playing field.
    • by australopithecus ( 215774 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:39PM (#7096866)
      makes sense.
      its good to know that poor people will be able to scootch up to their home computer and...oh wait.
      • by Muerto ( 656791 ) <{david} {at} {vitanza.net}> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:40PM (#7096873)
        ahhh.. yes i was waiting for that point to be made... you forget the public library!
        • IF I lived in the US and made minimum wage I could live in a slum (Like the bad parts of New York) so rent would be cheap enough to leave me with enough money to buy a PC. $700 pays for a decent system and is ONLY 3 weeks pay at minimum wage. Or 3 months with aggressive saving.

          What you should ask about is People who live in Poor countries (Like Jamaica) where Minimum wage is $33.5 per week and any PC costs at least 17% more (or $819) for my example system. I.e. 6 Months pay at minimum wage or 2 years of aggressive saving.

          The price gap for Internet Bandwidth is even wider. I.e. Your ENTIRE salary at minimum wage would barely pay for entry level ADSL (256K up 128K down)

          • Sorry for not completing my point before. In the US, it's a rare individual who is too poor to own a PC with net access. More common is that such an item isn't a priority (I.e. Cable TV with some premium channels or ADSL? Same price, choose one).

            Personally, I don't make enough as an engineer in the 3rd world to afford MIT so this will be useful for personal development. My degree will have to come from a lesser institution.

        • I live in an upper-middle class neighborhood in DC. I love going to the library (to read, not to use the computer), but I rarely do. They are not open on Sunday, they only stay open late one day a week. It would really suck if I was trying to do any serious learning there while holding down a job.

          Also, library hours were recently cut back because of budget problems here in DC.

      • computer that can be used for reading this(and internet connectivity and whatnot) ~300e-700e.

        10 books worth 50-70e a piece=500-700e.

        books can be horribly expensive... and the markup as well.. i just checked out that it had some stuff i might have needed to buy a 70e book for(can't attend the lectures of said course because i got another lecture to attend during them, and the lecturer doesn't make lecture notes available on 'net).

        besides, being able to use a computer at somewhere is pretty much requisitor
    • by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:53PM (#7097011) Journal
      I've always wondered why teachers don't "open source" some text books. When I was in school, it seemed that they changed the text every semester so that kids couldn't buy used books, or resell them after use. It almost seemed as if they were colluding with the publishers. I almost organized a book burning with the angry students who were finding that their $150 Accounting 101 book became worthless after the sememster was over. There are few scholarships/grants that will cover the cost of a text.

      Don't get me wrong - I kept all the good stuff (and still reference it today when google doesn't come through - there are few such cases but I have whacked a few).

      In any event, it would be simple - a book is created and is available for modification so as long as the modifications are submitted back to the original author. The text would evolve into something that could not be purchased from *any* publisher.

      Students Win. Society Wins. Evil Publishers Lose.
      • The text would evolve into something that could not be purchased from *any* publisher.

        I don''t see what's in it for the author, other than publicity and a warm fuzzy feeling. If an author's book can't be purchased she'll never get any royalties.

      • by dmauer ( 71583 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:26PM (#7097340)
        When I was in school, it seemed that they changed the text every semester so that kids couldn't buy used books, or resell them after use. It almost seemed as if they were colluding with the publishers.
        This is an awfully well-known scheme the publishing houses use to sell books. The schools can't do anything about it, anyway. Here's how it works:

        1) Publish a new edition of your textbook at least every couple of years. Be sure to change the page numbering significantly, and ideally, move stuff from chapter to chapter. The harder it is to syncronize with the old edition, the better!
        2) Release it as soon as you're almost sold out of the previous edition.
        3) Laugh as bookstores can no longer carry new copies of the old edition, so professors have to require the new edition -- they can't assume that everyone will be able to find a used copy of the old edition, and it'll take way too much of their time to synchronize teaching from both editions.
        4) Rinse, Repeat
        5) PROFIT!

        Arseholes.
      • by dcmeserve ( 615081 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @05:24PM (#7097954) Homepage Journal
        That's a great idea -- a set of GPL'd text books.

        I think it would apply to grade school even more than college, for the same reason as why governments should only use open-source software: if you're using public money to pay for information products, shouldn't that information also be in the public domain?

        School systems shouldn't be slaves to the big publishing companies that base their books' content on marketablility (e.g. making sure not to offend anyone, and raising the P.C.-ness level to the point where the texts are completely devoid of interesting content). A state's school system should be able to put a lot less money into some bargain-basement publisher who *just* does the job of printing the damn things; the savings could then go into a small staff of content writers/editors to accomodate whatever specializations their local culture calls for. And to contibute the the work as a whole.

        Yeah, I like this idea a LOT.

        Btw, another reason why it would be more applicable to grade school is that college texts tend to be much more specialized. Just as the most successful open src. projects are for those "fundamental" programs like OS, brower, etc., the most successful open-src texts would be the ones covering the fundamentals of math, science, etc.

      • " I've always wondered why teachers don't "open source" some text books."

        Because no publisher would agree to print a textbook without the copyright. There is too much risk. eBooks may change things, however, and allow a GPL sort of model.
      • angry students who were finding that their $150 Accounting 101 book became worthless after the sememster was over.

        "Worthless"? Surely you meant "not resalable to next year's students".

        A book's worth should be measured by its information content. If the knowledge a class presents is worth your spending $3000 in tuition, surely the keeping the textbook is worth more than the $50 you'd get selling it used.

        If not, then I'd question why you bothered taking the course at all.
        • A book's worth should be measured by its information content. If the knowledge a class presents is worth your spending $3000 in tuition, surely the keeping the textbook is worth more than the $50 you'd get selling it used

          I agree with the first part, but not the second. Some textbooks are useless, or just too dense to be comprehensible (books on feedback network theory come to mind), even though the class itself is very good. As an undergraduate I eventually learned to look through copies of books before

      • It's a racket, dude.

        Text book writers update a small % of the actual content, but change all of the questions (slightly). Otherwise books would last for 10 years and they couldn't make money every year.

        Intro EE hasn't changed much in the last 15 years. (What has could be handed out as a packet.) But new books were issued every 3.

        Complete BS.

      • I am left with the impression that the world of academic text books has become a racket. The fees for books are higher and higher, and it's not necessarily because the books are any better, or that they contain any astoundingly new information, it's because publishers can get away with it. Just like Universities can keep raising the cost of tuition, and at the same time, allowing their tenured 'teaching' staff to spend less time in the classroom (time for which students are paying big bucks), and more time
      • I've always wondered why teachers don't "open source" some text books. ... It almost seemed as if they were colluding with the publishers.

        I think you've answered your own question. I took a class in high school, then again in college 2 years later that used the same book. There was a different edition out by then, but it was indistinguishable from the earlier one except for the cover art.

        It makes sense. If you've got an audience that's forced to buy your book, why wouldn't you make the old one obsole

      • This would be really smart thing for particularly high schools and grade schools who every few years have to buy textbooks. With the school budgets so tight, it would seem obvious, hey let's write our own books. Or even all the schools in a state decide to write an open source Algebra One book.
        I think the real reason that schools don't do this is that unfortunately too many school teachers aren't aware that the technology exists to do this cost effectively. So ironically the reason that the people who te
    • one problem (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vraddict ( 653878 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:53PM (#7097013)
      The fact that the information is available, and even the fact that you can gain access to the instructors for clarification still does not put everyone on an even playing field. The one thing that most people seem to care about are degrees and resumes. The poorest yet most intelligent person in the world could study these courses, and gain an equivalent education to those with degrees, and could even possibly surpass their abilities. It won't do them any good in the present state to learn structural engineering, but not have a degree.
    • by kurosawdust ( 654754 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:54PM (#7097032)
      Now if you are born poor you will most likely stay poor

      Whoa. I am a liberal in most cases, but this is just crap. If you have access to the internet and >= 3 or 4 free hours a day and don't have a learning disability, you have (within epsilon of) no excuses. In the case of something like computer science, there is (not even within epsilon of) zero excuse for your aptitude other than your desire and the amount of work you put in. It sounds just as romantic as the quote I am responding to, but it's true; if you plug someone in to the internet, they can learn about almost anything they want and in all probability be great at it - they just have to work.

      • If you have access to the internet and >= 3 or 4 free hours a day

        May be a problem for someone who is poor and has to have two jobs at a time.

        if you plug someone in to the internet, they can learn about almost anything they want and in all probability be great at it - they just have to work.

        May be true for computer sciences. It seems to work for India. But I'm not sure if this is true for most other professions, too.
        • May be a problem for someone who is poor and has to have two jobs at a time.

          it definitely would be a problem for someone who has to work two jobs - they wouldn't have a few hours of free time each day, and thus would fail the 'if' clause and the rest of the comment would not pertain to them.

          • Well, if they had been smart...and not had kids and family they couldn't afford...they wouldn't HAVE to work 2 jobs. If the fathers didn't run out on the wife and kids...most of them even with one kid wouldn't have to work 2 jobs.

            Hey, life is tough, you have to live with your choices in life. Life doesn't owe you a thing, so, you have to live with your choices and work with what is thrown at you.

            If you're not willing to do what has to be done to overcome your plight in life...then, you deserve to stay whe

    • Education will never be "free as in beer", only "free as in speech". Putting together a good curriculum, course notes, problem sets, and finals is a lot of work. Currently OpenCourseWare is subsidized by the school and existing MIT students, some of whom have not been terribly happy [mit.edu] about the idea.

      A better way to put it would be that the marginal cost of making information available once it's produced is free, and that the best we can hope for is that schools will make pre-existing information available

    • I hope that information will someday be " free as in beer " for everyone. Now if you are born poor you will most likely stay poor... and this is changing. The internet has been a great gift to everyone... it brings people of all income levels to an even playing field.

      To quote Qeen Victoria:

      "Give my people plenty of beer, good beer, and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution among them"

      Can the same be said for information? Which would you think is better for society?
  • by Atario ( 673917 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:41PM (#7096878) Homepage
    ...can feel dumb in the privacy of your own home.
  • 6.021J Quantitative Physiology: Cells and Tissues Fall 2002
    is listed in EECS department. Can someone explain this?
    • As someone mentioned, it's part of a bioengineering concentration.

      It's not just a EECS class, though. The "J" means it's a joint class (in this case with the ME and HST departments). There's a slew of three or four of these joint bioengineering classes. This one in particular has an EECS guy as the head prof, though.
    • For historical reasons, the biomedical engineering degree got attached to electrical engineering. Could as well gone with biology, mech eng, or material science. If a specialty isnt large enough to stand on its own as a department, its folded into some other department.
  • IMO (Score:2, Insightful)

    by novakane007 ( 154885 )
    This has to be one of the coolest ideas I've seen in a long time! Education without borders. Kudos to MIT!
  • by Brahmastra ( 685988 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:41PM (#7096888)
    A lot of the course notes aren't particularly useful without a teacher actually explaining things to you. For example, look at the following link [mit.edu].
    While some of the notes may be useful and educational, I don't think it replaces a real, live professor explaning things and available to answer questions.
    • you can email the faculty member associated with the course, and you will get a prompt reply. I have always received a reply same day.
      offcourse this not same as learning in a classroom. But you cant have that for free. You need to pay for that. Professors need to make a living as well.
    • More useful to the internet denizen would be free online textbooks. They can, for many people, replace the teacher. The last bit that remains missing could easily be filled by a mentor - even if they aren't local.

      Notice how the Linux and other free software/open source software communities have online How-tos, books, and free mentoring? One of the keys to success for many organizations is educating its users, and providing easy education to potential users.

      MIT isn't just doing this out of the goodn
      • More useful to the internet denizen would be free online textbooks.

        Yes, they would. But, when were you at university last? Textbooks, especially the hardcover types used in the scientific disciplines, aren't cheap. I'm sure there are freely distributable textbooks for the sciences (or any type of course), but that would require the professors agreeing to use these instead of many of the tried and true standards. I'm sure MIT would love to provide copies of the textbook, but they just can't.

    • by f97tosc ( 578893 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:52PM (#7097008)
      A lot of the course notes aren't particularly useful without a teacher actually explaining things to you. For example, look at the following link . While some of the notes may be useful and educational, I don't think it replaces a real, live professor explaning things and available to answer questions.

      1. I don't think anybody was suggesting that this should replace real profs at MIT. This is extra resources for people outside of universities, who don't have the option of talking to a prof.

      2 Personally, I actually disagree with your point. I have found that I learn the most reading and solving problems, not when I listen to somebody talking (especially not in the big lecture format).

      Tor
    • Try 8.02 (Score:3, Informative)

      by Merlin42 ( 148225 ) *
      They video taped an entire semester and it is available via realplayer!

      I have been 'auditing' it in my spare time for a couple weeks now.
    • Plus, a lot of the classes don't have any notes at all --- just a syllabus, reading list and some assignments, nothing that modern professors don't already have on their website. It is nice to have big catalog accessible in one place, but I'm hoping that this will encourage to professors at MIT to put more of the content of the class online, and encourage other universities to come up with similar cataloging systems.
    • It's extremely useful. Now I'm not so sure I think much of the "people without access to MIT profs can learn" theory. It's nice in a romantic way to think about inner city kids learning to be the equal to MIT grads by studying this material and I think there is a certain geek appeal to the more reclusive geek variety that don't like to ask questions in classes and generally only like to work on things by themselves. This is no substitute for a college education, especially not an MIT or some other upper
    • I think the main advantage is that teachers all over the world have the option of incorporating parts of the MIT notes and curriculum into their classes.

      So, if a low end school has a fresh teacher (typically someone who just finished undergrad), he or she can focus on understanding the content and teach it -- avoiding the added burden of creating new course material (which would likely be of inferior quality).

      S
    • A lot of the course notes aren't particularly useful without a teacher actually explaining things to you. [...] While some of the notes may be useful and educational, I don't think it replaces a real, live professor explaning things and available to answer questions.

      Well, no, but then replacing real, live professors is not the point. I consider it, in part, an FM to R before hastling a person with ignorant questions.

      Case in point: I discovered that a topic I'm interested is considered an obscure sub

      • P.S.
        In short, I needed the syllabus and bibliography of a "Anthropology 101" undergrad course, which focused on theory and not practice. Lo! I have all I requested.

        Oh, and I just discovered this course that I am so interested in? Enrollment is limited to Anthropology Majors and Minors. So even when I was an MIT undergrad, I wouldn't have been able to take this course. Let's hear it for the MIT OCW!

  • by stonebeat.org ( 562495 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:43PM (#7096903) Homepage
    I started going through one of the course few months back. And one few ocassions I email the instructors, for clarifications/explanations. And I always got a prompt reply. Even though I am not paying anything to MIT.
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:44PM (#7096910) Homepage Journal
    Most schools have their class pages online. For example, take a look at the College of Computing, Georgia Tech's classes page here [gatech.edu].

    Most of them carry assignments, solutions, sample exams, and readings similar to the MIT Open Courseware site....and they're publicly available too.

    What was lacking was a common index to campus-wide pages, and a standard format for all of them. When individual professors/TA's put up their class pages, their formats are not standardized, nor are they always upto date (for example, if an assignment was a handout).

    From a superficious look at some Electrical Engg and Computer Science classes, I think the MIT folks have basically indexed all the pages, standardized the format, and made sure they are all uptodate.

    /end rant

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > What was lacking was a common index to campus-wide pages, and a standard format for all of them.

      True enough. But the thing that's the most sorely lacking is online access to textbooks.

      There are many great out-of-print textbooks that will never be seen by human eyes again, because their publishers steadfastly refuse to allow them to be republished in any medium. That is a moral outrage, and it shows a deep flaw in the concept of copyright.

      As a result, a new generation of textbooks must be developed

    • Well, not really....most course pages cannot be read at all on their own. Many only contain the sylabus and announcements (while there are, or course, some exceptions). OCW puts (at least) the basic concepts online and makes them availible to all. Most professors have written up new problem sets and tests specially for OCW. Also, some courses also have videos online (ex: 18.06 and 8.02). (A lot of courses are only able to provide videos to students because allowing public access would be a violation of copy
      • A lot of courses are only able to provide videos to students because allowing public access would be a violation of copyright laws for materials they use during the lectures.

        What materials are you referring to exactly? If you're referring to books, then ofcourse, professors do not display books in class. If you are referring to lecture slides, etc...I don't think they're copyrighted by the professor, and if they are, since they are putting them up on the web in the first place, they don't care if anybody

  • by chopper749 ( 574759 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:49PM (#7096967) Journal
    Just what the world needed! Free Nuclear Engineering classes [mit.edu]! From the comfort of your own 3rd world country!
  • by mst76 ( 629405 )
    Sign me up for 22.33 Nuclear Systems Design Project.
  • Books (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cybermace5 ( 446439 ) <g.ryan@macetech.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:55PM (#7097035) Homepage Journal
    Many of the courses I looked at had a decent amount of information, but you really couldn't understand what was going on without the book. Engineering texts still cost $60 to $200 these days.

    I will probably go through some of these as handy little refresher courses, since I already have books and can get by. But if you go through some of these courses and learned only what is in the notes and handouts, don't consider yourself an MIT graduate yet.
  • In the day of "intellectual property" where one of my University courses had in big bold letters right below the professors name:

    This material copyrighted and for internal use by students of [University] currently enrolled in [class]. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    and then proceeded to list very little more than the course outline with a few isolated powerpoint slides he used in class a few times.

    Then again, this particular professor was a [censored]. :-)

    Stewey
  • by boatboy ( 549643 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:58PM (#7097071) Homepage
    The optimist in me says 'I always wanted to know more about the adiabatic approximation and Berry's phase. [mit.edu]' The pessimist says 'methinks this will only lead to an increase in the number of people who think they know what they are talking about.'
  • Linux documentation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slux ( 632202 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:01PM (#7097099)
    I think GNU/Linux and other free software is a great example of how well the internet can work as a learning tool. We have the Linux Documentation Project, man pages and of course the actual source code. You can easily learn very advanced stuff without buying a single book or attending a single lecture. Why couldn't this be true for other areas as well? The information just needs to be there. I understand Stallman very well when he says that documentation should be free too (FDL).
  • by bartc ( 160938 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:05PM (#7097137)
    For anyone interested in the MIT course 6.004 Computation Structures [mit.edu]: the lectures are very similar to ArsDigita University's [aduni.org] "How Computers Work".

    ArsDigita University put all its lectures online in realvideo format. Here's mirror [fontys.nl] of the "How Computers Work" course.
  • Now this sounds like a cool class: Technologies of Humanism [mit.edu].

    Course Description

    This course explores the properties of non-sequential, multi-linear, and interactive forms of narratives as they have evolved from print to digital media. Works covered in this course range from the Talmud, classics of non-linear novels, experimental literature, early sound and film experiments to recent multi-linear and interactive films and games. The study of the structural properties of narratives that experiment with digress

  • by jhigh ( 657789 )
    From the FAQ:

    The CMS we have been using since the beginning of 2003 is a customized commercial option, Microsoft Content Management System 2002. The reasons for the choice of Microsoft 2002 were manifold: Microsoft made a serious commitment to the MIT OCW project, the total cost of ownership of Microsoft CMS 2002 was significantly lower than the other vendors in consideration, and the Microsoft product offered a high-level of usability for the end-users, MIT OCW's faculty liaisons and MIT's faculty. The e
  • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:18PM (#7097255) Homepage Journal

    ...and it's great! I'm stuck in a shitty little comm. coll. here where everything is "learn how to use vendor x's program y" and it stinks. I told several profs to their faces now that I'm not coming to any classes when we're not taking a test because there's nothing that I can learn there that I care about or that matters.

    With the Open CourseWare site though, I've started plugging my way through an almost complete cirriculum! I finally got the motivation to learn Java so I could use it in the 6-170 [mit.edu] course. The content, organization, and overall structure of the course is incredible (6-170 is by far one of the best classes I've ever had in any subject at any school with any professor ever)! I'm looking forward to following it into the next class I work through on OCW.

    There's no way I can afford to go to MIT - as much as I would love to - but with OCW, at least I can benefit from a great deal of their wisdom with some elbow grease, even without the cash.

    • There's no way I can afford to go to MIT - as much as I would love to - but with OCW, at least I can benefit from a great deal of their wisdom with some elbow grease, even without the cash.

      What makes you think you can't afford MIT? The Ivies and company have very good financial aid policies. It's just possible, under certain circumstances, to pay less than community college. I go to Penn, and basically only pay for room and board and books.
    • Just one [anal] clarification ... all MIT classes are noted by a decimal notation system, so it's "6.170," not "6-170." The 6 is short for Course VI, which is the EECS department. It's just a little thing that any MIT student would immediately notice as being odd about how you wrote it.
  • by clusterix ( 606570 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:22PM (#7097294)

    I have been through community college and umich and now live in Singapore. I can say that around the world a 4 year degree is not equal. I hope that this will encourage students to beg for better course designs and more advanced knowledge than what 90% of the world currently gets.

    I also hope that engineering faculty will seriously discuss and compare their current curriculums and bring them up to par as much as possible (with in their and their students capability).

  • Discussion Site (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now it's time for some people to get together and create a discussion site for each of the courses so every1 can have a place to go to ask questions about example problems and notes.
  • I tried to follow 18.06 "Intro. to Linear Algebra" as a refresher; I figured it would be a good "beta test". I noticed some problems:

    (1) The problem sets refer to problems on certain pages of the textbook. The textbook is not available online.

    (2) I was able to view the lectures under Linux with the latest Mplayer. However, I could not seek, so if the stream is interrupted, you have to watch it all again. There are links to specific topics within each lecture, but apparently Mplayer doesn't respect the
  • My favorite so far is a Literature class called "Understanding Television" [mit.edu].

    Hilarious!

    Seriously, this MIT project is a great resource.

  • Litmus test... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fuqqer ( 545069 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:43PM (#7097546) Homepage
    I think it would be great to see how students at other so-called "second-rate" or state schools are able to do in these courses. I think it would provide a great comparison of school difficulty.

    I found the #1 party school [colorado.edu] in the nation to have a difficult engineering and math departments. I've also heard a lot of people say that the only tough thing about Stanford, Harvard, or even MIT is getting in. Once you're in, apparently it's no more difficult than other schools.

    Granted you're reading the rantings and ravings of a CS dropout.

    -non sig- Bow to your non-sig overlords!
    • Re:Litmus test... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by javaxman ( 705658 )
      Trust me,
      when you're taking some mid-level 'weed-out the weak' physics/math/engineering course and EVERYONE you are competing against was in the top 2% of their graduating class with unbelievable SAT scores, it makes a difference.

      Bell-curve grading in such a scenario can be a real bitch, and profs for whatever reason ( lazyness is my guess ) often use it anyway.

      In my experience, the teachers at less-difficult-to-enter schools have to work a little harder to explain the course material to students, and thu
    • Re:Litmus test... (Score:3, Informative)

      by losvedir ( 712221 )
      Well... As I type this from my dorm room at MIT i'm gonna have to say that doesn't seem quite accurate. The classes here are *really* hard. I'm not sure how hard it is at other schools, but I imagine it would be at least a little easier.

      * My MIT interviewer said that she would talk on the phone with her boyfriend at UC Berkeley, and that after a couple weeks they could no longer talk about the same class, since the MIT one was moving faster. At the send-off party I verified this with him..

      * My Dad went to
  • It isn't actually that professors put their notes on-line. Many schools even put more lectures in digital video formats on-line (unless I missed the links, only a few of the OCW lectures appear to be available in video).

    What seems to be new about this is that MIT has hired staff to put together a professional-looking, organized website. This means that putting a course on OCW is less work for the professors and that the end-result is more useful to students. That's in contrast to many other universities
  • Not knowing much about the language, why is the majority of EE/CS coursework in Scheme? Wouldn't C be a more appropriate language to build fundamentals in?
    • C is definitely not the language to build fundamentals in. As far as academia is concerned, C's only merit is that it is popular. It is very confusing to the beginner. Most places nowadays either teach Scheme (very popular in academic circles) or Java. Some places teach C++. Scheme is taught because it is fundamentally simple and beautiful, and therefore instructive.
  • Fianlly I can take a course in Womyns Studies! From MIT!!!
    • As opposed to the Womyn's Studies in Slashdot?

      "Them's those untouchable things what got vaginas in them. They're all pretty (printable), quiet, take up little room (individually), and don't have any body hair."

      Course finished.
  • by LeoDV ( 653216 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @05:31PM (#7098043) Journal
    This isn't a troll, don't get me wrong the whole idea is amazing, and they're doing a lot more than anyone else is doing, but so far I've only seen pages which describe courses and things like that. There's never much acutal content. Just a short page describing the course. If you're lucky you get links to PDF's assignments and stuff made with Powerpoint, which is a step up, but you never get all the info.

    Guess you still have to pay for that.

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