View Full Version : Free MIT courses via web.

Justin W
11-15-2001, 10:43 AM
At a press conference on April 4, 2001, MIT announced its commitment to make the materials from virtually all of its courses freely available on the World Wide Web for non-commercial use.

web.mit.edu/ocw/ (http://web.mit.edu/ocw/)

Anybody looking into this? What do you all think? Should university level education be a free world wide resource? Should you be able to get a degree from a free online university? How would they be funded? Maybe they would offer instructed classes where they are located and leave the free stuff to be maintained and overseen automatically via the web servers.. ? Just thought this was interesting. Would you hire someone who had their degree from MIT's free program (should that be a possibility in the future)? At least it looks like they will be offering a lot of free non-credit classes in just a few months.


11-15-2001, 03:32 PM
I would take the online courses. If I was going to hire someone with an online degree I would test their skills first. Maybe they can take the final exams through other universitys across the country. You know have an exam writing session once a month at all the universities, and have the tests verified there. That wouldn't take up too many resources. If they did it that way I wouldn't have a problem. I like the idea that all of the material is going to be published free. I don't see why it should be private.

The V.
11-15-2001, 06:13 PM
Well, I don't really see this (at this stage) as any kind of substitute. Class notes are significantly different from classes themselves -- I do like the fact that universities, including my own, put notes on the web -- if I'm confused on a topic, I can look at how other professors teach it -- but the notes themselves are a poor subsitute for the classes.

"All the materials" can't include books (the publishers would kill them), so you're left with things like lecture notes, syllabi, etc. Helpful, but no substitute for the lecture.

BTW, many times, these notes are private because of copyright issues. Professors can give excepts from books, figures, etc. to students as part of fair-use exemptions on copyright laws -- they don't need to pay royalties. They CANNOT put them on the web, unless they limit access to enrolled students, because it would violate copyright laws.

Let me tell you, I get many course notes for my classes online, and those who can't see them aren't missing a whole lot =]

11-15-2001, 09:34 PM
Well actually they can include books. There are
several MIT published books online.

The V.
11-15-2001, 09:41 PM
The publisher can, of course, publish books online. If the university doesn't own the rights to the book, however, they must pay royalties or buy the rights.