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An MIT education is now just a click away

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December 1, 2007

Ever wanted to delve a bit deeper into matrix theory, especially vector spaces and the misunderstood twin enigmas of linear algebra known as eigenvalues and eigenvectors?

As sure as every square matrix has a determinant, you are not alone. Now there is a kind of cerebral clearinghouse, accessible without ever setting foot inside MIT's hallowed halls, for those so inclined.

On Wednesday, the school celebrated the completion of a six-year initiative to put its entire curriculum online, with all 1,800 undergraduate and graduate courses - lectures, readings, labs, even problem sets and exams - available with just a few clicks and a spirit of scientific curiosity.

The initiative, the first of its kind, has been enormously successful, so far attracting some 31 million visitors from nearly every country who are drawn to such classes as Electricity and Magnetism, Classical Mechanics, and Introduction to Algorithms.

Lectures and readings from MIT's literature and history courses are also online, but the 20 most popular courses all involve science, economics, or math.

High school students and teachers are among the most avid participants, with 15,000 accessing the site each month. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched a website, called Highlights for High School, that is tailored to their interests.

PETER SCHWORM

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