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Natural Awakenings

MIT & Me: Free-for-all Education

By the end of 2007, the contents of all 1,800 courses taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will be available online anytime to anyone in the world. All free of charge.

The OpenCourseWare (OCW) movement, launched at MIT in 2002, now encompasses 120 universities worldwide. Participants range from Johns Hopkins, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Tufts, University of California, and Utah State in this country to member universities in China, France, Japan, Spain, Vietnam and elsewhere. The website and companion sites translate materials into languages. Learners now average about 1.4 million visits a month from “every single country on the planet,” says Anne Margulies, executive director of the OCW program at MIT. Feedback consistently attests how these materials are changing lives.

Such generous intellectual philanthropy isn’t hurting admissions. On the contrary, it’s whetting appetites. Huge user constituencies include students at other colleges and self-learners pursuing self-improvement.

The MIT site quotes Leigh Pascoe, a self-learner in Paris: “This program,” she says, “will do more to change the world for the better than a thousand Iraq-style invasions. It does much to restore my faith in the enlightenment of the American people and their great experiment in democracy.”

To access coursework and more, explore Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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