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OpenCourseWare: How It Enriches the Academic Experience

In the past, students spent hours upon hours hunkered down with textbooks and notebooks, poring over the material assigned to them by their teachers. In a digital world, the student's academic experience is QUITE different. Sure, we still have our textbooks and they're invaluable to the knowledge we gain from our classes, but the use of OpenCourseWare adds dimension and depth to the curriculum. Staring at a book when the material can be dry (depending on the class, of course) can get cumbersome. Students learn in all different ways so it is beneficial to give them a variety of materials to stimulate their interests. Students are more engaged when their content is interactive and visual.

Though the idea of OpenCourseWare originated in Germany in 1999, it was MIT's program that began in 2002 that ushered in OCW as we know it. It is entirely free and the material offered is of the highest quality. MIT's purpose in creating OCW was to "enhance human learning worldwide by the availability of a web of knowledge."

Richland Library has some excellent OCW resources as well! You can search a variety of topics, from antiques to test prep!

The sheer volume of material is overwhelming to say the least. Here's how to navigate the mountains of knowledge in MIT's OCW.

iTunesU is also a great source of free educational materials that you can put right on your iPod or mp3 player! Convenient AND enlightening!

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