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MIT OpenCourseWare

One of the true marvels of the internet-age, MIT’s OpenCourseWare project makes video lectures, notes, problem sets, and exams from over 2,000 MIT courses freely available to anyone with an internet connection.


Naturally, MIT’s OCW project offers courses in technical fields like MathematicsEngineeringChemistry, and Computer Science.  But many humanities courses, in subjects such as LiteratureForeign Language, and Music, are also available.  You can browse all of the courses here:  http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/.

The Multivariable Calculus course has been especially helpful for me.  Not only can I brush up on techniques in vector calculus, but by watching the lectures I get a different teaching perspective on the material.  Browsing the problem sets and tests gives me ideas for my own assignments and assessments.  And, naturally, it’s a wonderful resource for the students!

I’ve also enjoyed making my way through some of the advanced statistics and physics courses MIT has to offer.  As a teacher, it’s always nice to remind yourself how lost one can be as a student!

Click here to see more in Resources.


  1. JBL
    August 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

    But nothing good to say about the 18.02SC recitation videos? 😉

    • JBL
      August 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

      Actually, while I’m here fishing for compliments, I might as well ask a semi-constructive question: a friend and I have talked a bit about using this sort of material in a typical high school classroom (e.g., using the single-variable version of the class you linked), and I basically was unable to come up with any suggestions more intelligent than “point your students to it and maybe they’ll use it on their own.” Do you have any better ideas?

    • August 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      Wow! I didn’t even realize there were recitation videos.

      Be careful what you wish for–a full-on pedagogic review may be coming. Or, at the very least, a select collection of HS student feedback.

      • JBL
        August 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm

        Well, you’ll have to let me know what you (and perhaps your students) think! I’m always happy for feedback (though I don’t think I’ll be doing anything quite like those videos again any time soon) — it is maybe possible that I spent most of the month of January clicking through all the videos on YouTube to see how many views and comments they were getting :). (Incidentally, there will be a new set of the Scholar courses next year; I’m not involved, but a number of my friends helped produce the linear algebra and differential equations courses. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.)

        Thanks very much for the suggestions — I’ll pass them along!

  2. August 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    And good question about how to use this stuff in the HS setting. I’ve tried a few different things, and have some new ideas on tap.

    In addition to making students aware of the resources (including before school starts, so they can look ahead), I have assigned videos as HW and then followed up with my own problem sets the next day. I have also hosted web-based chats where we watch the videos simultaneously, I comment on what I think is important, students discuss, ask questions, etc.

    I also like to show the MIT problem sets to the seniors from time-to-time in order to discuss the ways in which college courses (and college work) may differ from what they’re accustomed to.

    Some other ways to use the resources effectively might be creating small study groups led by an advanced student who uses the videos as review and as a means to facilitate tutoring / recitation. It’s also a great place to send advanced students to learn something to present back to the class, or for group projects that are executed in a similar way.

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