!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: MIT Treasure Trove

Thursday, December 07, 2006

MIT Treasure Trove

In a commendable effort to share and spread knowledge, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been putting materials for hundreds of its courses online. This courseware is available free of charge to anyone anywhere.1

The stated goals of the MIT OpenCourseware initiative are to:
  • Provide free, searchable access to MIT's course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.

  • Extend the reach and impact of MIT OCW and the "opencourseware" concept.
As of May, materials for about 1400 courses had been published, with just about every department represented:2

     Aeronautics and Astronautics
     Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation
     Biological Engineering
     Brain and Cognitive Sciences
     Chemical Engineering
     Civil and Environmental Engineering
     Comparative Media Studies
     Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
     Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
     Engineering Systems Division
     Experimental Study Group
     Foreign Languages and Literatures
     Health Sciences and Technology
     Linguistics and Philosophy
     Materials Science and Engineering
     Mechanical Engineering
     Media Arts and Sciences
     Music and Theater Arts
     Nuclear Science and Engineering
     Political Science
     Science, Technology, and Society
     Special Programs
     Urban Studies and Planning
     Women's Studies
     Writing and Humanistic Studies

I would call particular attention to the availability of courses given at the Sloan School of Management. One example — particularly useful for people wanting to strengthen their grasp of the basics of economics — is Applied Economics for Managers. You can access the course syllabus, the list of lecture topics and associated readings, lecture notes (pdf format), a pair of problem sets, and a practice final exam with solutions.

Though each faculty member is allowed to decide what and how much of his or her course materials to publish, each course is presented in the same user-friendly template, so you quickly get used to the general way the materials are organized. You can download individual items, or download the entire package(except for video files, which are accessed separately) as a zip file.

1 Note MIT's terms of use: "Course materials offered on the MIT OCW Web site may be used, copied, distributed, translated, and modified, but only for non-commercial, not-for-profit educational purposes that are made freely available to other users under the same terms defined by the MIT OCW legal notice."

2 Note that "MIT OCW is not a distance-education or degree-granting initiative. Distance education involves the active exchange of information between faculty and students, with the goal of obtaining some form of a credential. MIT OCW is not meant to replace degree-granting higher education or for-credit courses. Rather, the goal is to provide the content that supports an education."


Labels: ,