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MIT Everyware - Every lecture, every handout, every quiz. All onl ine. For free. Meet the global geeks getting an MIT education, open sourc e-style.

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  • Lessard, George
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/mit_pr.html [Excerpt] MIT Everyware Every lecture, every handout, every quiz. All online. For free. Meet the global
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 7, 2003
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      MIT Everyware

      Every lecture, every handout, every quiz. All online. For free. Meet the
      global geeks getting an MIT education, open source-style.

      By David Diamond

      Lam Vi Quoc negotiates his scooter through Ho Chi Minh City's relentless
      stream of pedal traffic and hangs a right down a crowded alley. He climbs
      the steep wooden stairs of the tiny house he shares with nine family
      members, passing by his mother, who is stooped on the floor of the second
      level preparing lunch. He ascends another set of even steeper steps to the
      third level and settles on a stool at a small desk, pushing aside the
      rolled-up mat he sleeps on with one of his brothers. To the smell of a
      chicken roasting on a grill in the alley and the clang of the next-door
      neighbor's metalworking operation, Lam turns on his Pentium 4 PC, and soon
      the screen displays Lecture 2 of Laboratory in Software Engineering, a
      course taught each semester on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of
      Technology. "Here," he says, pointing at the screen. "This is where I got
      the idea to use decoupling as a way of integrating two programs."

      In a huge brick house that Evan Hoff shares with three other guys in
      Nashville, the 20-year-old brings up the MIT Web site and connects to the
      same material Lam is studying halfway around the world. "This is the lecture
      on data abstraction," Hoff explains. "I went over this in community college,
      but that class only took it so far. This teaches you about the three
      different specification conditions, the things you put in documentation to
      let future programmers know how to use it. In community college we covered
      only two of them."

      When MIT announced to the world in April 2001 that it would be posting the
      content of some 2,000 classes on the Web, it hoped the program - dubbed
      OpenCourseWare - would spur a worldwide movement among educators to share
      knowledge and improve teaching methods. No institution of higher learning
      had ever proposed anything as revolutionary, or as daunting. MIT would make
      everything, from video lectures and class notes to tests and course
      outlines, available to any joker with a browser. The academic world was
      shocked by MIT's audacity - and skeptical of the experiment. At a time when
      most enterprises were racing to profit from the Internet and universities
      were peddling every conceivable variant of distance learning, here was the
      pinnacle of technology and science education ready to give it away. Not the
      degrees, which now cost about $41,000 a year, but the content. No
      registration required.

      "It's a profoundly simple idea that was not intuitive," recalls Anne
      Margulies, the former Harvard assistant provost and executive director of
      information systems who was hired to be OpenCourseWare's executive director.
      "At the time, the world was clamping down on information, limiting it to
      those who could pay for it." Soon foundation money was gushing in to support
      the initiative. MIT earned the distinction as the only university
      forward-thinking enough to open-source itself. To test the concept, the
      university posted 50 courses last year. ..."

      Top 10 OpenCourseWare Classes
      1. Philosophy 24.00: Problems of Philosophy
      2. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 6.170: Laboratory in Software
      3. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 6.071: Introduction to
      4. Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences 12.409: Hands-On Astronomy:
      Observing Stars and Planets
      5. Mathematics 18.06: Linear Algebra
      6. Mathematics 18.013A: Calculus with Applications
      7. Nuclear Engineering 22.00J: Introduction to Modeling and Simulation
      8. Physics 8.02: Electricity and Magnetism
      9. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 6.281J: Logistical and
      Transportation Planning Methods
      10. Management 15.810: Introduction to Marketing
      Source: MIT. Ranked by hits per page and based on a two-month period ending
      June 30, 2003.
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