Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A new way to spend my time

MIT is now offering their entire course catalog online, through an OpenCourseWare system. You can now download all the material for all of their courses, or at least everything that's available online for their students. I'm highly impressed; MIT was my (unfortunately too expensive) first choice for college, and I'm looking forward to auditing some of their classes online. It might help counteract the pervasive sense that my brain is shrinking from disuse as I get older. I'm already looking at some highly nerdy courses.

On the other hand, I don't know how spectacular MIT's courses actually are. The thing that most impressed me when I was hunting colleges was their student body. I was reasonably sure I'd get a good education at Purdue (where I was offered not only education, but also good scholarships), but I was really interested in my potential peer group at MIT. And the academic cousework in my original majors (a triple, Chem, Math, Physics; once you're getting a dual degree in Chem and Physics, it's only a few more classes to add a math major) is second to none at MIT. Of course, I eventually graduated from IuPuI with an English degree. Meh.

The other cool thing about MIT was the reputation, the panache of being an MIT student. In addition to the enormous amount of coolness points you receive for being an MIT student, I suspect an MIT degree simplifies your job search, or at least moreso than a Purdue degree. It's been my practical experience that having a college degree was nice for a lot of the jobs I've held, in that it made me look good on paper. But I've never actually had a job that directly required anything I learned in college. Then again, I'm a theater techie with a liberal arts degree. If I were an engineer with an engineering degree it'd be a different story.

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