Lifelong Learning With MIT – For Free!
May 6, 2011 Leave a comment
Ten years ago the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) began OpenCourseWare, a program to publish educational materials from all of its courses freely and openly on the Internet. At this ten-year milestone, the program has 90% participation among faculty, sharing 2,000 courses with over 100 million individuals worldwide. The program’s objective over the next ten years is to serve 1 billion people. Wow.
While these courses do not bestow degrees or certificates, there are some incredible stories about how these world-class instructional materials are changing lives, particularly for the under-privileged and those in remote locations throughout the world.
It’s been 14 years since I completed graduate school at Kellogg and while I actively read to keep stimulated, there are areas, particularly in technology, that I could really stand to dig a little deeper to make me a more effective leader. So I have just started an undergraduate, self-paced course through MIT’s program called Introduction to Computer Science and Programming that educates on the role computation and programming can play in solving problems, including application using Python programming language. Lots has changed since my undergraduate FORTRAN programming class in 1987. It should be fun!
43% of OpenCourseWare users are self-learners and 40% of them use the service to “explore areas outside my professional field”. There are lots of areas of curiosity and interest for me in these 2,000 courses. Particularly areas I know nothing about but have a curiosity to learn. Anthropology and Urban Design are two areas I know squat about, but with a small amount of time and access to such great educational resources, I can get a cursory introduction. Heck, why not Genomics and Computational Biology while I’m at it?
The world truly is at our fingertips.