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Learn for free online
BBC ^

Posted on 09/22/2002 2:56:58 AM PDT by freedom9

People will soon be given access to knowledge from one of the world's foremost technology institutes for free over the internet, as BBC World ClickOnline's Ian Hardy reports.

Like almost every organisation in the US, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spent the late 1990s struggling with the question of how to take advantage of the internet.

Many other colleges launched online degree courses aimed at anyone with a modem and a big wallet. But MIT has taken a completely different direction with a project called OpenCourseWare (OCW) that could stop the trend of commercialising online education dead in its tracks.

The first group of courses are set to be published on the internet on 30 September, including subjects like anthropology, biology, chemistry and computer science. Education revolution

"I genuinely think there was an 'a-ha' moment when they said our mission was actually to enhance education," said Anne Margulies, Executive Director of OCW.

"Our hope and aspiration is that by setting an example, other universities will also put their valued materials on the internet Professor Dick Yue, MIT

"Why don't we, instead of trying to sell our knowledge over the internet, just give it away." Over the next 10 years, MIT will move all its existing coursework on to the internet.

There will be no online degrees for sale, however. Instead, it will offer thousands of pages of information, available to anyone around the globe at no cost, as well as hours and hours of streaming video lectures, seminars and experiments.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. MIT wants to start nothing short of a global revolution in education. "Our hope and aspiration is that by setting an example, other universities will also put their valued materials on the internet and thereby make a truly profound and fundamental impact on learning and education worldwide," said MIT's Professor Dick Yue.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mit

1 posted on 09/22/2002 2:56:58 AM PDT by freedom9
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To: freedom9
This is a boon. Kudos to MIT for allowing it.
2 posted on 09/22/2002 3:01:32 AM PDT by widowithfoursons
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To: freedom9
Fantastic!

One of the big benefits I see to this is streamlining the career selection process. It's not just high school seniors who have to decide what field to study anymore. Many of us are looking at second or third career choices--and the "experts" say this will be common.

If this becomes common practice, being able to look at actual course material on line will help prospective students choose a course of study they are likely to do well in, as well as a field they would enjoy working in.

3 posted on 09/22/2002 3:25:23 AM PDT by Lion's Cub
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To: freedom9
I just realized what an opportunity this would be for parents, as well as prospective students, too. By looking at actual course material, you can evaluate who's really teaching--and who's just propagandizing. It ought to spur real competition--which is why a lot of universities are likely to object...
4 posted on 09/22/2002 3:35:14 AM PDT by Lion's Cub
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To: freedom9
Hmm. Do you get any certification for having successfully attained the knowledge in these courses? A degree or something?
5 posted on 09/22/2002 4:04:52 AM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Lion's Cub
When a private institution like MIT does this, it begs the question; Why aren't all courses at state universities at least as available, and why can't you, at state universities, sit for exams for about the cost of proctoring and grading the exam plus a bit to cover the cost of the online course bandwidth?
6 posted on 09/22/2002 4:21:40 AM PDT by eno_
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To: eno_
Why aren't all courses at state universities at least as available, and why can't you, at state universities, sit for exams for about the cost of proctoring and grading the exam plus a bit to cover the cost of the online course bandwidth?

While I agree that the state universities should have their courses on line, and that people should be able to sit and test out of any course for a fee, I think it's only fair that the fee include money for the professor who teaches the course. After all, he/she put the course together, did the lectures, etc.

The costs should still be vastly lower, since the professor only has to put up the course material once each semester to reach potentially thousands of students.

Also, since there would be no interaction between student and professor, no "homework", no feedback for correction, no term paper assignments, etc., I could understand if universities wanted to make some kind of distinction in degrees between those who attend on campus or take regular online courses as opposed to those who learn the material through self-study. Maybe the distinction could be as simple as Bachelors vs Self-Study Bachelors...

7 posted on 09/22/2002 4:46:57 AM PDT by Lion's Cub
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To: Lion's Cub
I'm working on an automated bot that simulates student interactions with a foreign grad student TA. The undergrads that are beta testing it still understand too much of what the bot is saying.
8 posted on 09/22/2002 4:51:43 AM PDT by eno_
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To: eno_
Have your grad student fill his mouth full of soda crackers..that should cut down the numbers a tad...
9 posted on 09/22/2002 5:59:44 AM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: eno_
i had a few live versions of your bot at PSU.
stereotypes don't often arise out of thin air ...

10 posted on 09/22/2002 6:07:44 AM PDT by tomkat
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To: freedom9
Great idea - and post.

I believe this will not only enable the intellectually curious to expand their knowledge but will also enhance the ability of convential college students to supplement and add to their on campus instruction.

Methinks FR should encourage and support MIT in the project.
11 posted on 09/22/2002 6:30:38 AM PDT by hoot33
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To: joesnuffy
..also, have the grad TA's turn their backs to the monitors and type with boxing gloves.
12 posted on 09/22/2002 10:06:45 AM PDT by Leisler
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To: freedom9
Professor Dick Yue, MIT

I heard the idea originated with Dean I.P. Freely.

13 posted on 09/22/2002 10:11:55 AM PDT by x
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To: Lion's Cub
Acually, when I was an undergrad, there was an extremely heavy load of problem sets every week (sometimes 10 hours per course per week) and exams scores were weighted lightly compared with that liberal arts school down the road. This has two effects: one is that the problem sets come in smaller bites and are more amenable to online delivery (some exams were in large halls and proctored in the traditional way), but problem sets are easier to cheat on. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.
14 posted on 09/22/2002 1:06:46 PM PDT by eno_
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To: freedom9
Bumped and bookmarked. More universities should consider doing this.
15 posted on 09/22/2002 1:10:47 PM PDT by strela
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To: freedom9
Don't you need to know how to use a computer before you can learn computer science on-line? ;-)
16 posted on 09/22/2002 1:13:17 PM PDT by Happygal
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To: TxBec
Home education ping!!!!!!!!!!

"Why don't we, instead of trying to sell our knowledge over the internet, just give it away."

Imagine that? MIT wants people to have access to their coursework even if they don't get any money for it. I think this is a very positive and noble gesture; a round of applause for MIT!

17 posted on 09/22/2002 1:19:20 PM PDT by Born in a Rage
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To: Born in a Rage
Heard about this earlier. Glad to see it's almost ready...
18 posted on 09/22/2002 2:40:07 PM PDT by TxBec
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To: freedom9
http://web.mit.edu/ocw/
19 posted on 09/22/2002 2:53:07 PM PDT by savedbygrace
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To: Happygal
Catch 22
20 posted on 09/22/2002 4:16:08 PM PDT by freedom9
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To: savedbygrace
Thanks, Bookmarked
21 posted on 09/22/2002 4:18:05 PM PDT by freedom9
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To: Born in a Rage
MIT is a non-profit corporation that solicits (there's the letter from them on my kitchen table) money from people like me to ostensibly to serve the greater good - not to aggrandize MIT, its faculty, or administration. The fact that MIT gets it and so many other universities do not is disturbing. Guess I should write a bigger check this year!
22 posted on 09/22/2002 4:46:57 PM PDT by eno_
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To: freedom9
bump
23 posted on 09/22/2002 4:56:43 PM PDT by VOA
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To: eno_
why can't you, at state universities, sit for exams for about the cost of proctoring
and grading the exam plus a bit to cover the cost of the online course bandwidth?


Aside from the concerns about impostors showing up for test, lack of interpersonal classroom
interaction, etc...
there are two other reasons:
1. The teachers/faculty like their current salaries, no matter how much they b-tch
2. The administration, from the campus up and wide (include the physical plant
folks as well) all the way up to near the office of the governor...hey, they don't
want to let go of the power and prestige.

Besides, you need a big local student body to fill up the football stadia and the
basketball arenas!!!
(I'm not anti-sport...just saying that a real educational revolution will
shake the world as we know it. If it is allowed to happen.)
24 posted on 09/22/2002 5:02:09 PM PDT by VOA
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To: freedom9
MIT's Professor Dick Yue

I wonder if people break out laughing when ever this fellow is introduced.
25 posted on 09/22/2002 5:04:25 PM PDT by VOA
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To: GummyIII
I haven't read this yet..just skimmed over it. I thought you might know some kids who might be interested. :)
26 posted on 09/22/2002 6:21:48 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8
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To: Lion's Cub
Also, since there would be no interaction between student and professor, no "homework", no feedback for correction, no term paper assignments, etc.,

??????? Really? My dd is taking two classes online this semester (part of Florida's state university system).

There is plenty of interaction with the professor (as this is dd's first semester, she had no idea that one does not challenge the teacher -- so far the prof has corrected several quizzes and reworded two labs).

In both classes, the teachers are available at their offices on campus, by telephone, or by internet. Plenty of feedback (including a warning from the teacher that she wants Office XP used, not Office 97, so she took 2 points off a test. That upset my 14-yo who is not used to getting less than 100).

The meteorology class has a term paper requirement, along with an oral defense of it. And both classes met the first day to have instructors and students get to know one another; both will have final exams on campus.

My dh also took classes from OSU (OK)-- tests were administered by a proctor the school agreed upon. Off-campus classes are nothing new -- what is new is the lack of cost: seems to go with lack of academic credit, unless the student can take a CLEP exam.

27 posted on 09/22/2002 9:39:53 PM PDT by womanvet
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To: womanvet
You are talking about regular on-line classes, for which a student registers and pays a fee. What MIT is going to do is put the course materials on line for free for anyone to study or read at their leisure. IOW, it's like giving away text books--there is no fee, no registration, no testing, etc. You're not "taking a class"; you just get free access to a library of the course material.
28 posted on 09/23/2002 4:34:37 AM PDT by Lion's Cub
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~
Thanks, Kim! I have a whole Center for Engineering, Biotech program, and Computer Information Systems program that is interested!
29 posted on 09/23/2002 8:39:53 AM PDT by GummyIII
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To: freedom9
To MIT...Having just learned of this website I don't really have any "feedback" yet, but I do have praise.
Congratulations to MIT! I do intend to visit often.
"Why don't we, instead of trying to sell our knowledge over the internet, just give it away."
Hear, hear!
30 posted on 10/12/2002 5:42:04 AM PDT by philman_36
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