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MIT OCW Scholar courses

MIT OCW Scholar courses

MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) offers free online MIT courses complete with lecture notes, exams and videos. There is no registration required and there are no fees involved, but they do offer suggestions for course textbooks, which are often fairly expensive (standard for college level courses). MIT says that “virtually all MIT course content” is included in OCW. OCW has been operating for over ten years.


MIT recently announced a new version of OCW that they call, “OCW Scholar”. The Scholar courses are designed for “independent learners”. That means they are more useful to students who don’t have the textbooks and journals available and can’t attend study groups and other reinforcing techniques often offered by TAs (Teaching Assistants) in the college environment.

OCW Scholar – [mit.edu]

OCW Scholar courses are designed for independent learners who have few additional resources available to them. The courses are substantially more complete than typical OCW courses and include new custom-created content as well as materials repurposed from MIT classrooms. The materials are also arranged in logical sequences and include multimedia such as video and simulations.

MIT OCW Scholar Launches the First of Its 2012 Classes: Linear Algebra – [hackeducation.com]

The OCW Scholar classes have more materials, for example, in this case including not just the videos from course lectures, but lecture summaries and short videos demonstrating how to do specific problems, created by MIT TAs. (The TAs’ bios are here) Most crucially, perhaps, there is a study group for the class, facilitated via OpenStudy. That means independent learners needn’t tackle this material alone.

MIT OpenCourseWare introduces courses designed for independent learners – [gilfuseducationgroup.com]

Because the original OCW model was designed to support faculty, many courses in the current publication include partial selections of course materials or references to outside texts. It was assumed that visitors to the site could supplement these materials through academic libraries and other resources; often this is not the case for the millions of independent learners visiting the site. To ensure the completeness of OCW Scholar courses, the OCW team has combined materials from multiple MIT courses and worked with MIT faculty and teaching assistants to create new materials specifically for OCW Scholar publication.

UDACITY is Sebastian Thrun’s Online University

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