Can I take a course at MIT?

Today was the first day of the pilot of the new online course 6.002x – circuits and electronics. It has exactly the same content as the same course that is given offline at the campus. I’ve seen that there are lectures available for free on YouTube but this is a whole course that will give you a “diploma” (still just a pilot and anyone can sign up, including me). In this course we will learn to understand how circuit boards work to later on be able to understand the technology behind for example smart-phones.

Why is this interesting to me?

I’ve noticed before working on ideas both at Hyper Island and while working that many times the best ideas I get are inspired of knowing what is possible to do with code and technology. I see this as an investment of time today that will pay off working on future projects.

What also interests me is that this is a pilot, an experiment. It is exciting to be part of a new educational initiative like this. The evolvement of courses like this really supports the life long learning that we will have to get used to today. During our life time everything will develop and change many times over, going to school one time when we are young is definitely not enough anymore. To bring the courses online makes them more available to people to take while doing something else in their life.

It is also interesting to see how the digital environment can help the learning experience. It is interesting to see what tools they use on the site. Some interesting features for example is the choice of playing the video of lectures faster and slower (the videos are streamed through YouTube), create circuit boards online, and the possibility to communicate with other students all over the world taking the same class.

What I also like is to be part of the digital culture of sharing knowledge and information, like the way Wikipedia and open source software works. “Since it launched OpenCourseWare 10 years ago, MIT has been committed to using technology to improve and greatly widen access to education. The launch of MITx represents a next step forward in that effort.”

The prerequisites of this course are a bit above my level though, like a college-level physics course in electricity and magnetism and basic calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. I expect to bump into many walls and spend many hours trying to solve problems, but as with programming and other things that are kind of logical I’m not too worried, I will make it, just need to work a bit harder sometimes.

To fill in the gaps I’ve been shopping around at the MIT site where you can find loads of lectures and course material. These courses you can take whenever you want and you don’t have to do any homework. Go to the database here!