My Pseudo-year at Free MIT

I’ve taken a prolonged blogging sabbatical in the last month to reevaluate my online life. My real one is good, but my online one was unfulfilling. I needed something more. And I found it.

I have recently been introduced to the MIT Opencourseware System. MIT has put many of their courses online, free, for anyone to access. Have you ever wanted to take their course on advanced geometric computation? Boom! There it is. Of course, you can’t take the course for credit, or contact the professor, or have anything on your CV about it, but there’s enough information so that you could pass an exam if it was given to you. And that’s all you need, right?

So I’ve decided to create a second BS (Bachelor of ‘Sauce) to supplement my current level of education. I call it “Biological Systems in Nature and Medicine”. It will be heavy in neuroscience, systems biology and circuits, with sprinklings of geology, science policy and tech writing. Sounds like good summer fun, doesn’t it?

My goal is to “finish” 32 classes in 52 weeks. Finishing means reading and watching all the notes and lectures, and knowing enough about it to be able to pass the exam (by my own judgment). To keep me on task, I will be writing regularly about what I learn on my own site, and I’ll put things of general interest right here on Science Blogs. That way, I’m responsible to the public, and you know how hard they can be.

Now, I’m pretty sure that I’m not the first one to come up with this idea since MIT put their classes online. If anyone else has had this same thought, let me know. I’d love to see how other people are maintaining their advanced scientific education.

As a discussion point for the comments, what do you think of this idea? Is it worth it? Is the online course the key to science education for the masses? How many universities should make their classes public, and to what end? Is there a better way?

I’m so psyched for the first day of school. What will I wear?

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