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MIT courses online: student views

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced it will put all 2,000 of its courses online within 10 years. The website, called OpenCourseWare, will make available lecture notes, course outlines, reading lists, and assignments.

"It expresses our belief in the way education can be advanced by constantly widening access to knowledge and inspiring participation," MIT president Charles Vest told the Associated Press.

A recent visit to the campus in Cambridge, Mass., revealed that MIT students have a wide range of responses to the $100 million project.

I would probably use it (online course materials) if I really didn't want to go to class.

There maybe won't be as much interaction with professors.... A lot of us here really know how to teach ourselves.

- Jorge Panduro, senior, mechanical engineering

I don't think you can equal the amount of education you get at MIT online ... Maybe [MIT officials] see it as PR.

- Tommy Fisher, junior, computer science

It might be good for the public in that it gives them access to academic resources. But I don't think it's the equivalent of a degree ... because you don't have that personal contact.

They're going to spend all this money. They could have taken that money and put it toward the students....

- Jackie Wilbur, junior, economics

I think you're just as well off (using the material online)... It's just a matter of getting a degree.

- Jesse Gutkowski, junior, economics

I was quite upset about it. Any other schools can take advantage of what we have to pay for.... Why give it out in the first place?

- Farrah Sajan, freshman, biology

If people from the outside can get it, what do I care? A lot of this stuff is available online anyway. The information is out there; you just need to find it.

- Michal Karczmarek, first-year graduate student, computer science

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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