An Innovative Way to Learn

On 05/08/2010, in Informal Education, by Jordan Wilson

It seems that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) “provides a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content.”

An extremely interesting, and potentially valuable, concept for non-MIT students.

According to their website:  

MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT.

  • OCW is not an MIT education.
  • OCW does not grant degrees or certificates.
  • OCW does not provide access to MIT faculty.
  • Materials may not reflect entire content of the course.

The course content is provided in various formats. Some or all of the following are used for each subject: written lecture notes; audio or video lectures; assignments; exams and solutions.

I realize that there are limitations in learning this way. For me, there is no substitute for personal instruction and the give and take only possible in a classroom setting.

However, it may be a cost-effective (i.e. free) way to increase your knowledge in subjects that directly relate to your intended career path. Or, with a wide variety of disciplines covered, you might gain a little education in complementary areas to your primary field of knowledge.

During an interview, or when you are actually working, it is what you know that is important. Not how you gained your knowledge. If you can expand your work relevant education now, it may pay off in the future.

For example, if you are a business student you may be interested in business related courses offered by the Sloan School of Management.

But if you will ultimately work in a non-business industry (e.g. aeronautics, engineering, health sciences, humanities, etc.) you may want to learn a little about that area. You can also find a variety of approximately 1900 courses that are aggregated by specific department.

There are courses for high school students as well. The courses are “selected specifically to help you prepare for AP (Advanced Placement) exams, learn more about the skills and concepts you learned in school, and get a glimpse of what you’ll soon study in college.”

I am not aware of any other institutes that offer the general public their course content for free. If readers know of any schools that do so, please let me know and I will pass it on.

Whether you are in high school, taking post-secondary education, or already working, I suggest you take at look at the offerings as they may add value to your career path.

And the price is right!

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