Skip to comments.Internet opens elite colleges to all
Posted on 12/30/2007 1:02:43 AM PST by Aristotelian
Gilbert Strang is a quiet man with a rare talent: helping others understand linear algebra. He's written a half-dozen popular college textbooks, and for years a few hundred students at the elite Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been privileged to take his course.
Recently, with the growth of computer science, demand to understand linear algebra has surged. But so has the number of students Strang can teach.
An MIT initiative called "OpenCourseWare" makes virtually all the school's courses available online for free lecture notes, readings, tests and often video lectures. Strang's Math 18.06 course is among the most popular, with visitors downloading his lectures more than 1.3 million times since June alone.
More than 100 universities worldwide, including Johns Hopkins, Tufts and Notre Dame, have joined MIT in a consortium of schools promoting their own open courseware. You no longer need a Princeton ID to hear the prominent guests who speak regularly on campus, just an Internet connection. This month, Yale announced it would make material from seven popular courses available online, with 30 more to follow.
As with many technology trends, new services and platforms are driving change. Last spring marked the debut of "iTunes U," a section of Apple's popular music and video downloading service now publicly hosting free material from 28 colleges. Meanwhile, the University of California, Berkeley recently announced it would be the first to make full course lectures available on YouTube. Berkeley was already posting lectures, but YouTube has dramatically expanded their reach.
If there isn't yet something for everyone, it's only a matter of time. On iTunes, popular recent downloads include a climate change panel at Stanford, lectures on existentialism by Cal-Berkeley professor Hubert Dreyfus, and a performance of Mozart's requiem by the Duke Chapel Choir. Berkeley's offerings include 48 classes.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
N.B. These courses won't provide you with any degrees or credentials (although they could in time). However, that may be a benefit in disguise. If more and more people were to self-educate, businesses and institutions might have to broader their means of assessing job candidates. If you can show you know as much as, say, an MIT grad, why shouldn't a prospective employer give you as much consideration as the guy with the MS or PhD?
Linear algebra? *scratches head*
With my job, something was not quite right with my software and I could not find the problem. Watching these video lectures, I was able to verify that the math was being done correctly and eventually located where the problem was.
Dr. Strang's video lectures sure helped me and my company.
Strang’s textbook was used at quite a few colleges for a while in the 80’s and 90’s. There are different approaches to the development of the subject and I did not particularly care for some of the forms he developed. I had no use for them and preferred a more classical approach.
In my application, it was to solve for the roll, pitch and yaw angles of a camera.
Sounds like my brain would fry working on that stuff.
I’m about to give this online univ. course a try. During the past 4-5 years I’ve been commuting from the country to OSU’s campus. In winter and Spring it’s at least one week each of snow and flooding, and I’m stuck. Soon, I can just sit back with hot coffee, watch the weather turn to crap and be at work.
Because, as has always been the case, a drooling fool who "knows someone" will get the job.
See: U.S. Politicians, for example.
Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.
MIT Launches Web Site for High School Students
Uses successful MIT OpenCourseWare model to engage high school math and science students and faculty
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 28 - MIT President Susan Hockfield today announced the launch of a new Web site, Highlights for High School, that will provide resources to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction at the high school level.
Now that’s useful information! Thanks!
I’ve been watching Stang too, for my studies. He’s a great teacher.
Hey that's a terrific link for my home schooling daughter!
I'm tempted to refer a few freepers I've run up against to http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Economics/index.htm, but probably them that really need it are already convinced they know it all...
MIT OpenCourseWare is terrific. I’ve used the web development courses as a reference many times.
Not quite correct. The point is to select from among those who are the best scholars those who also happen to have the additional talent of being the best at TEACHING their subject. There are a lot of university profs who do excellent research, but can't make their work understandable to the students. Every university has a few of them. Their courses are over-subscribed, because they make difficult subjects understandable.
"One's ability to self-educate will increasingly know no bounds."
And just in time, too. With the "dumbing-down" of public education, the only remaining avenue is self- and home- schooling.
This is such a cool idea. I hope it takes off.
No child left behind, anyone?
No child who wants to keep up, that is . . .
I have looked at some of the MIT Open Courseware lecture slides on line. IMHO, they are of limited value unless one also reads the textbooks and attends the lectures. In fact, I would say the lecture notes are inferior to what I have seen at other schools. This is likely due to the advanced nature of the lectures—will be way over the heads of many other students. Having the video courses on-line will help, but only a few of the classes have this.
An honest question, but it won't work that way for anyone past college who wants to improve their bottom line.
Anyone who already has an advanced degree, would watch this (linear algebra a very good example) with the intent to inculcate the material and synthesize the principles into something entirely new, almost surely outside the realm of an 'employer-employee' relationship.
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