The MIT finals week mixes, part 2: Done!


Last week, we posted the Chill Out” studying-for-final-exams music mix by MIT student Anthony Occidentale ’77 (The AntOxy).

Today is the last day of finals here at MIT. Whether you’re a student here at MIT or elsewhere, or simply want to cut loose a little during this busy season, we are pleased to share Anthony’s follow up “Done!” mix.  See the MIT Student Life Tumblr for tracklist.

Our gift to you – new OCW courses!

"New" over background of stars.

At OCW, December is one of the busiest publication times of the year. So far this month, we’ve published nine courses. Five are brand-new to OCW, and four are substantial updates of prior versions.

New courses:

Updated courses:

Many more courses will publish in the next few weeks. You can always see what’s new in OCW over the past 6 months with our New Courses list.

It’s all part of OCW’s ongoing commitment to serving as your premier free educational resource. If you can afford to, please consider OCW in your end-of-the-year giving. Your donation, large or small, ensures our ability to keep publishing and distributing the educational materials that make a difference to learners everywhere.

Learn Signal Processing with Alan Oppenheim, MITx and OCW

Collage of images depicting various signal processing methods and applications.

Much of what we do today, if we do it successfully, depends on the digital analysis and control of signals. Our computers, smart phones, video cameras, microwaves, GPS systems, all record and process discrete data signals. Without the signals, nothing works. Understanding those signals by mastering the relevant mathematics is essential for scientists and engineers to enable us to do what we do: make phone calls, play video games, record sounds and images, make and record transactions, fly aircraft, analyze big data . . .

Professor Alan Oppenheim has taught signal processing at MIT for decades. Starting on Feb 3, open to the public on the edX platform, Dr. Oppenheim offers 6.341x Discrete Time Signal Processing. Taught with colleague Dr. Thomas Baran, this course provides “both an in-depth and an intuitive understanding of the theory behind modern discrete-time signal processing systems and applications.”

The course is organized into 11 units, each of which consists of two to four topics. The course videos are adapted from recordings of a class recently taught on the MIT campus. The textbook, written by Professor Oppenheim and Ronald W. Schafer, is available free in viewable form on the course site. The course topics have auto-graded problem sets for self-assessment, and students can interact with each other in an online discussion forum.

People interested in getting a foretaste of this course might explore OCW’s 6.341 Discrete-Time Signal Processing, a published version of the course Professor Oppenheim taught at MIT in 2005. Those who would like to bone up on the basics of signals and systems can get going with OCW’s 6.011 Introduction to Communication, Control, and Signal Processing, as taught on campus by Professor Oppenheim in 2010.

OCW also has a supplemental resource including some of Dr. Oppenheim’s earlier on-campus lectures: Digital Signal Processing.

 — Joe Pickett, OCW Publication Director

Learn, Cure, Fuel, Make: MIT launches “Solve” (MIT News)

Graphic of four colored squares with the words Learn, Cure, Fuel, Make.

The four pilliars of Solve. (Source: MIT Solve website.)

MIT launches “Solve” to galvanize action on solving the world’s great challenges
Leaders to gather for keystone event at MIT next October
Technology Review | December 12, 2014

MIT will convene technologists, philanthropists, business leaders, policymakers, and social-change agents Oct. 5-8, 2015, for the launch of “Solve,” an initiative to galvanize these leaders to drive progress on complex, important global challenges that MIT has singled out as urgent and ripe for progress. Curated by distinguished members of the MIT community, this highly collaborative event will take place at Kresge Auditorium and at various labs, classrooms, and facilities across the MIT campus.

Solve will organize challenges into four content pillars, identified by MIT as strategic targets for interdisciplinary research, problem solving, and collaboration:

  • Learn, curated by Anant Agarwal, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and CEO of edX, will focus on access to education, and digital and distance learning.
  • Cure, curated by Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor at MIT and an affiliate of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, will examine the affordability of care, and advanced diagnostics and therapies.
  • Fuel, curated by Angela Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT, will focus on environmental sustainability, food and water security, and renewable energy.
  • Make, curated by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and founder, chairman, and chief technology officer of Rethink Robotics, will delve into manufacturing, global infrastructure, and the future of work.

The curators will assemble challenge teams to address specific global issues in the developing and developed worlds, with short- and long-term goals for tackling pressing issues where serious progress is possible…

Read the full article.

We certainly agree that learning is one key to solving the world’s most pressing problems, and look forward to this initiative.

MIT faculty share their pedagogy insights

Earlier this year, we launched the OCW Educator initiative, to articulate and share MIT’s best pedagogical practices, and to help OCW users better understand the context in which OCW materials were originally used on campus.

OCW Educator has been on a roll! So far, sixty OCW courses have published with “This Course at MIT” content. A few of the best, with extensive instructor insights, have been profiled here in Open Matters.

But among the thousands of OCW courses published prior to launching OCW Educator, there are other pedagogical gems. For instance, some courses have a short introduction video in which faculty summarize the objectives, salient features, and pedagogy for their course. We’ve just created the collection Pedagogy Highlights in Course Introduction Videos to feature several intro videos of particular interest to educators.

Here’s a sample: Prof. Donald Sadoway describes his approach to teaching introductory chemistry.


See the complete collection of Pedagogy Highlights in Course Introduction Videos.

The MIT finals week mixes, part 1: Chill Out

MIT’s final exam period is next week. How do the students stay focused and relaxed? A good music mix helps, via the MIT Student Life Tumblr:

We asked Anthony Occidentale ‘17 (The AntOxy) to create a mix to help students through finals week, and well…we’ll just let him say the rest…

“It’s that time of the year where everyone is crammed in their rooms, cramming for finals. For all you MIT students (and other students studying), enjoy this hour long set of “chill” music that will get you through the pain of studying and exam season.

Relax a bit because you’ll make it through! Stay tuned for the part 2 celebration mix when you are all #done!”

We’ll share that part 2 celebration mix when it’s made available. Stay tuned, and if you’ve got finals coming up — best of luck!

UPDATE: Here’s the Part 2: Done! mix.

Why do OpenCourseWare? Why do MITx?

As the former Chair of MIT OpenCourseWare’s Faculty Advisory Committee, Prof. Shigeru Miyagawa has been asked many many times “why does MIT do OpenCourseWare?” He spoke about his answer to this question last month at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL).


Prof. Miyagawa’s answer goes back to a quote from former MIT president Chuck Vest:
“If you share money, it disappears, but if you share knowledge, it increases.”