CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 9 - Two free courses published on MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) site have each received more than one million total visits since publication. The OCW site was launched by MIT in 2002, and the two courses, 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics and 18.06 Linear Algebra, were among the first courses made available.
Both courses have averaged roughly 600 visits per day from learners and educators around the world, making them the most visited courses on the OCW site. Professor Walter Lewin, who teaches 8.01, and Professor Gilbert Strang, who teaches 18.06, have both become web celebrities because of the video lectures and other course materials they have shared through OCW.
Strang is a 50-year mathematics veteran whose teaching style is recognized internationally. Linear Algebra introduces mathematical concepts that include matrix theory, systems of equations, vector spaces, and positive definite matrices. "Everyone has the capacity to learn mathematics," says Strang. "If you can offer a little guidance, and some examples, viewers discover that a whole world is open."
Students around the world respond enthusiastically to Strang's teaching style. Arvis, a student from the United States says, "I like the way Professor Strang focuses on the big picture before he goes into the theory of linear algebra and I especially like the way he revisits the big picture after he introduces each layer of theory."
Professor Lewin is an international webstar. He is well-known at MIT and beyond for his dynamic, inspiring and engaging lecture style. His courses are also among the most downloaded at iTunes U. 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics explains the basic concepts of Newtonian mechanics, fluid mechanics, and kinetic gas theory, and a variety of interesting topics such as binary stars, neutron stars, and black holes.
Lewin's demonstrations make difficult concepts easier to understand. Stanley, a doctor in the US, says, "I had this information presented to me in 1962 while pursuing my medical career. It was never so clearly presented as it was by the witty genius. Please thank [Professor Lewin] from an old student and tell him that he has truly presented the beauty of physics to me."
MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT's undergraduate and graduate courses-more than 1,800 in all-available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of a million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 48 million visitors have accessed the free MIT educational materials on the site or in translation.