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Education enriches our Human Experience--For Free.


This article originally appeared in the SSA eMpirical No. 18 - It's Spring, We Think.


Most of the bridges in Boston are measured in feet. The new Zakim bridge on the Charles River, for instance, runs 1,432 feet long. But what about that one bridge measured in Smoots? The Harvard bridge was measured in 1958 by taking 5' 7" MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) freshman Oliver R. Smoot and rolling him head over heels the entire length of the bridge. It seems that the bridge is officially 364.4 Smoots… plus one ear. Now the time has come that we can all learn to measure things in Smoots by taking classes at the famed MIT.

MIT has decided to put all of its educational material online for public consumption. And what is the cost for these courses that run MIT students about $35,000? Free. In an effort to educate the public, and to make learning available to anyone, anywhere, anytime, these courses are entirely free. The name of the program launched by MIT is OpenCourseWare, and it's rapidly taking hold in the nation's most impressive educational institutions. Universities such as Harvard Law, Tufts, UC-Irvine, UMass-Boston, Notre Dame, and MIT are offering online versions of their courses to the public at no charge.

Now you can brush up on your Astronomy with UMass Boston, indulge in Darwin and Design from MIT, learn about Physics for Humanists from Tufts, and become well-versed on Faith and the African American Experience by Notre Dame. All without relocating to a stuffy dorm room with a snoring roommate.

OpenCourseWare allows us secularists and humanists to stay up to speed on the latest scientific discoveries from the world's leading intellectual institutions, as well as increase our understanding of world history, artistic movements, social psychology, and all the other fascinating elements of our human experience.

This article originally appeared in the SSA eMpirical No. 18 - It's Spring, We Think.

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