Massachusetts Institute of Technology has embarked on a new, bold & powerful initiative which broadens horizons and thought processes aimed at the world. In more way than one, MIT has redefined education and made quality education, just a little more accessible through its Open Course Ware programme.
Under the OCW programme, MIT provides FREE access to its course material that are used in teaching these courses ( 1400 of them) to anyone, anywhere in the world. Read on!
The term ‘course ware’ covers everything from Syllabus, syllabus calendar, Assignments, Quizzes, suggestions on extra reading material etc. And, by the way, it includes Lecture notes and solutions to quizzes & assignments as well (depending on the nature of the subject).
Well, what the MIT is not: a distance learning or a degree granting initiative. It is more a course content sharing process which can benefit in a multiple ways including,
1. Educators worldwide have access to this and thus they get to see & use what MIT & its faculty use as material to teach. Thus, providing for possibilities that are numerous and far reaching.
2. The discussion groups provide help in further understanding, where users can interact with each other around MIT OCW content.
3. Students have access to the additional / supplementary learning and an exposure to alternate modes of pedagogy.
4. Course curriculum availability can bring clarity to students who want to weigh and evaluate options
5. Course curriculum is free for usage, and can aid universities worldwide design and look at new courses, upgradations. You don’t have to do any registering or anything of that sort.
Participation to the OCW program is listed as voluntary for faculty of MIT. And therefore faculty share, only what they are comfortable with sharing. So, people without context may not be able to use the material completely.
But it must be understood that this is not a substitute for education. You cant learn up a course here, but you can get fantastic supplementary understanding which can broaden horizons beyond compare. A student cannot get all the education here. That’s not the objective. The objective is for his professor to have access to world class pedagogy and educational material.
At the MIT – OCW, faculty retain ownership of material published. However, the respective faculty cannot be directly contacted through the website. The content published is directly from what the faculty have for a class, and is not tailor made for the OCW. While it provides authenticity to a fair measure, customisation & updation could iron out a few minor irritants.
But what the heck, you get an idea as to what happens in MIT. And that includes the Sloan school of management. From subjects ranging from Architecture to Nuclear Physics to Theater to Humanities to Philosophy to Writing and to what not. 1400 courses!
So the next time you want to brush up on the subject you did well at school, you know where to go : MIT ! All thats required is to go to http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html
This is bold & a new paradigm for academia worldwide. And coming from MIT, this is absolutely fantastic! Hope other centres of learning are listening as well !