September 21, 2006

Get a Free Education

Let's say that you've graduated from Podunk University. Now that you've finally graduated, you may find that you are actually ready to learn something. Not that you haven't through getting your degree, but with the workload, you haven't been able to pay any real attention to the subjects that you really wanted to learn.
For some time now, MIT has offered Open Courseware,
"a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world. MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) supports MIT's mission to advance knowledge and education, and serve the world in the 21st century."
. I've had the opportunity to use the Open Courseware myself, in fact, while I was studying for my degree at Limestone College, I used the Open Courseware to get some 'tutoring' for my Matrix Algebra course, which I was having difficulty with. So you might say that I, at least in some part, have an MIT education. I found the video lecture for that course particularly helpful in getting an 'A' in my own coursework.
Just this morning, however, I was reading an email newsletter that I have been getting since 1999 - Edupage. [In fact, Limestone's remote study program was first brought to my attention by Edupage. Thanks, Edupage!] In there, they mentioned that Yale University will be following in "MIT's footprints", but will be going the next step by offering videos of lectures for all classes on their site. Some of the MIT classes (including the Matrix Algebra course) include videos of lectures, but not all of them. I did indeed find courses that have videos of class lectures to be more useful. It's much more convenient to watch a teacher explain a concept (over and over if necessary) than to go to Borders or Amazon and order a book on the subject.
Kudos to both Yale and MIT for furthering the cause of learning for learning's sake. The Internet is the library of the future, and to know that our highest institutes of learning have put the cause of knowledge before the cause of profits is refreshing. Besides, I can't afford the tuition at either of these fine institutions, and now that I'm almost 40 years old, I find that there's classes I really WOULD like to take.

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