Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Get Yourself an MIT Education Without the Hassle

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the potential merits of having a multi-disciplinary background as a biologist. For example the way things are going, mastery in fields like math and/or computer science could a lot of fun when combined with a background in biology. Unfortunately, becoming a recognized expert in another field means for most people going back to undergrad and going through the formal education process all over again. This idea is nauseating for many reasons, ie: a) You have to pay a university tuition, b) You have to live without a stipend or salary c) More exams d) You have to show up to classes e) You have to spend time on campus and risk getting beat up by the football team f) You would have to listen to dorky TAs who think they know more than you, beacuse they actually do.

With MIT's OPENCOURSEWARE you can get a lot of the benefits of a top-of-the-line university degree without wasting your time on any of the above. The site contains class notes, directives to TAs, assignments exams and textbook/web resource citations from real MIT courses, allowing you to do a self-directed course of study in any of a variety of different fields. Of course you don't get an actual undergrad degree, but hey neither did Matt Damon and he seemed to know a lot in that one movie. Of course you might argue that there's value in hearing real lectures by real professors, but the web has more podcast lectures than you could ever listen to in a lifetime...