The How and Why of Motion: Classical Mechanics
By Joe Pickett, OCW Publication Director
Terrific news for students and teachers of introductory physics: OCW has just published a new version of 8.01 Classical Mechanics.
This course is taken by all MIT students in their first year and helps form the foundation for much of what they will learn in their undergraduate careers.
Arranged in weekly learning units, the OCW course site abounds in useful materials. The centerpiece is a series of 220 short instructional videos that cover the full range of topics, from kinematics and Newton’s Laws of Motion to rotational motion and angular momentum. An additional six review videos cover basic concepts like vectors and scalars, so you can be familiar with the necessary terminology before you start the first learning unit.
The course is taught by a team of seven MIT instructors led by Professor Deepto Chakrabarty and Senior Lecturer Peter Dourmashkin. The videos are presented in variety of formats: studio, tablet, and lightboard. 8.01 is the first OCW course to employ a lightboard, a relatively new technology that allows the instructor to face the viewer while writing on a transparent surface (a software program reverses the writing so the viewer can read it). Many instructors like this form of online instruction for its more intimate and personal feel over traditional classroom videos.
Students can also read Peter Dourmashkin’s openly published and fully downloadable textbook.
Each course topic has a problem set tied to videos of related worked examples to help learners make the most of their homework.
Materials for Multiple Uses
The materials on the OCW site were used both for on-campus instruction and in a series of MOOCs hosted on the edX platform. The MOOCs are run periodically, so students interested in getting an MITx on edX certificate can get a head start by familiarizing themselves with the materials on OCW before diving into the MOOC.
So don’t let inertia get the better of you! Steer your vector to 8.01 and get moving!