How to Speak, How to Live

Photo of Patrick Winston, with chalkboard highlights of the talk in the background.

Professor Patrick Winston and some highlights of his How to Speak talk. (Image by Brett Paci. Photo by Azeddine Tahiri. Used with permission.)

Watch this one-hour master class on effective presentations by the late Patrick Winston.

By Curt Newton, OCW Director

“Your success in life will be determined largely by your ability to speak, your ability to write, and the quality of your ideas, in that order.” — Patrick Winston

MIT Professor Patrick Winston (1943-2019) was a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). He literally wrote the book on AI, and his AI course on OCW has been one of our most popular courses since it was published.

Beyond the considerable quality of his ideas, he’s been celebrated at least as much for how he went about it all. The website A Memorial to Patrick H. Winston includes rich history, fabulous stories, and a gallery of photos. The tributes offered there show clearly his positive impact on the thousands of lives he touched.

One striking way Professor Winston expanded his circle of impact beyond the AI field was through an hour-long talk he gave annually at MIT, called How To Speak. For over 40 years, every January during the MIT Independent Activities Period, people flocked to hear it. Word spread year by year, and the room was frequently overflowing.

Now on OCW, you can join the audience at one of his last How to Speak talks, given in January 2018. How to Speak is full of insights and tips for job interviews, lectures, persuasive talks, and even getting famous. Professor Winston also follows his own advice here: How to Speak demonstrates everything he says we should know and do, a classic embodiment of the principle “show, don’t tell.” It’s a master class in engaging an audience with essential information, at once expansive and crystal-clear, delivered through a rich and deeply human tapestry of stories.

“I believe that we are storytelling animals. We start developing our story understanding and manipulating skills with fairy tales in childhood and continue on through professional schools like law, business, medicine, everything. And we continue doing that throughout life.”

Professor Winston lived this belief, continuing to develop and refine his storytelling skills, and kept sharing what he was learning, throughout his life. OCW is deeply honored to share the How To Speak tradition with you.

Discovering math and physics through MIT OpenCourseWare

Photo of Kyle with his parents, outdoors on a grassy hillside.

Now a PhD student in physics at SUNY Stony Brook, Kyle Lee’s journey began online with MIT OpenCourseWare

By Duyen Nguyen | MIT Open Learning

Within two weeks of taking his first college-level physics course, Kyle Lee knew that he wanted to be a physicist.

Now a PhD candidate at SUNY Stony Brook, Kyle says that the way physicists think, combining physical intuition and mathematics to find creative solutions to problems, is what drew him to the field. He would quickly learn to problem-solve like a physicist. While he enjoyed his first physics course, Kyle found the classes at his community college to be insufficient and began looking online for other resources. That’s when he came across MIT OpenCourseWare, and his newfound dream started to become a reality.

“OCW and MIT’s digital resources have definitely changed the way I learn and my educational experience,” he says.

After graduating from high school, he wasn’t sure about what he wanted to study — or even if college was the right path for him. His family came to the United States from South Korea when he was young so that he could have better opportunities. But despite doing well in school, Kyle received little guidance. He owned a telescope and would drive to the California deserts to look at the stars, but his interests in exploration hadn’t yet taken shape. He took a semester off before enrolling in a nearby community college.

“I became desperate to find something to be passionate about,” he says. “I didn’t think about grades and just took classes I thought I would enjoy.”

An aptitude test pointing him to electrical engineering — a career he’d never even heard of — landed him in the physics class where he’d find his calling.

“I knew I had to distinguish myself if I wanted to be a physicist,” he recalls.

Through OCW, Kyle discovered not only MIT’s physics and math courses, but the world of free and open digital educational resources. With the advanced knowledge he gained from the lectures and other course materials on OCW and similar platforms — and the confidence that this gave him — Kyle knocked on the door of a physics professor at UC Irvine to ask for a research position.

After that, the doors continued to open for Kyle. He was accepted to Chapman University’s newly established physics program, where his excellent grades and the research he was doing at UC Irvine earned him a full scholarship. For Kyle, coming from a working-class immigrant background, this was the only path to affording an education at a four-year institution. It’s a path that he’s worked hard to pave.

But along the way, OCW has been there to help. Today, Kyle still consults OCW resources to remind himself of certain concepts. “During my PhD, I took Effective Field Theory,” a graduate-level course available on both OCW and MITx, “which has had a huge impact on my work,” he says. And recently, the MIT department of physics invited Kyle to speak at the Theoretical Physics Seminar on campus, where he shared his work on quantum chromodynamics, a theory of the strong nuclear force. There, he met many of the leading physicists whom he’d admired for years.

As he prepares to complete his PhD, Kyle reflects, “I strongly believe in OCW’s mission to make this sophisticated knowledge available globally. It really has changed the entire path of my educational career.”

Explore the New MIT Open Learning Library

Now even more opportunities to learn from MIT at your own pace.

Screenshot of Open Learning Library webpage.

MIT Open Learning Library (OLL) is a new home to selected educational content from MIT OpenCourseWare and MITx on edX courses, available for free to anyone in the world at any time. We’re glad to share this prototype, combining some of the most important characteristics of the OCW and MITx experiences.

Interactive Assessments and Progress Tracking

One advantage to using the MIT Open Learning Library is that, by creating a free account, you will be able to keep track of your progress as you work your way through a course and to see the answers you’ve submitted to problems within the course – just as you can with MITx on edX courses. However, Open Learning Library does not include discussion forums, certificates, or the ability to transfer your progress to MITx on edX. 

How OLL Compares to OCW and MITx

You can think of OCW, MITx, and OLL along a spectrum of learning scenarios, in which MIT content is presented in different formats to meet different user needs. 

  • MITx courses on edX are end-to-end course experiences with optional certificates available for you to earn, live teaching support and interaction with other learners in discussion forums, and start and end dates.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare offers a completely self-guided experience with published content from MIT courses that is open all of the time and licensed for download, remix, and reuse, but does not offer certificates nor interaction with teachers and learners. 
  • MIT Open Learning Library sits in between MITx on edX and OCW. As in many MITx courses, OLL provides interactive course experiences that include auto-graded assessments that give you instant feedback and allow you to track your progress as you work your way through the subject matter. Like OCW, this content is always open and self-guided and includes no live support, discussion forum, or certificates.

Open Learning Library resources designated as OCW content are free to download, remix, and reuse for non-commercial purposes.  Resources designated as MITx content have varying licenses: some are All Rights Reserved, others Creative Commons, and some have mixed licenses. You will see the license type indicated on the About Pages.

Take a Closer Look

6.042J Mathematics for Computer Science is an example of an OCW course on OLL. As taught at MIT, Professor Albert Meyer used MIT’s residential version of the edX platform to deliver short videos interspersed with interactive concept questions that checked and effectively reinforced student learning — in other words, a structure very similar to MITx courses. This structure was reflected in the the openly licensed OCW version of this course, although OCW’s current platform is not able to track a learner’s progress through the course. Now with the new OLL version of the course, learners have a “best of both worlds” experience where the platform keeps track of their progress, while preserving OCW’s always-available openness.  

This version of Open Learning Library is an evolving prototype. Watch for new content, new site features, and an enhanced user experience. We welcome your feedback on the site, including your thoughts on areas for improvement.

Webinar on OCW recent highlights and future direction

Headshot photo of Curt Newton.Please join OCW Director Curt Newton on a free webinar, Monday March 4, 12:30-1:30 ET, for a tour through some recent highlights on MIT OpenCourseWare, and thoughts on its bright future.

Register here.

This webinar is presented by the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL). A program of MIT Open Learning, J-WEL at MIT seeks to promote excellence and transformation in education globally. As an incubator for change in education at MIT and around the world, J-WEL provides a platform that engages educators, technologists, policymakers, and societal leaders in addressing global opportunities for education through online and in-person collaborations, workshops, and information sharing events.

The webinar is a contribution to Open Education Week, a global event to raise awareness of free and open sharing in education and the benefits they bring to teachers and learners. Coordinated by the Open Education Consortium, Open Education Week showcases projects, resources, and ideas from around the world that demonstrate open education in practice.

 

 

 

Judge this book by its cover

Image of book cover for "Picturing Science and Engineering," featuring parts of nine scientific images.

The cover of the book Picturing Science and Engineering by Felice C. Frankel. The book serves as a guide to making scientific photographs for presentations, journal submissions, and covers.

Felice C. Frankel is an award-winning science photographer and research scientist based in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering. She’s also a skilled and passionate educator, whose OCW resource Making Science and Engineering Pictures: A Practical Guide to Presenting Your Work has freely shared her methods and insights with the world.

Felice describes making pictures as “an act of discovery” for both the scientist and his or her audiences. “[It] gets you, as the scientist, to look and see things that you would not ordinarily pay attention to.”

With instructional videos, hands-on tutorials, intriguing exercises and many supporting materials, one can learn a lot from this extensive OCW resource. But now there’s more: Felice has converted and extended the OCW course into a full-fledged book, Picturing Science and Engineering, now published by MIT Press.

If you’re new to making scientific imagery, or just curious to learn a little more, sample the topic and start exploring with the OCW resource. And if it grabs you (and it likely will), you’ll love the book.

College search support from your friends at OCW

Photo of three students sitting on a bench, in conversation.

Photo by Jake Belcher.

To all students who are now deep into the autumn ritual of college applications, along with all the other demands of your year: we feel you!

While we can’t join you on college tours or write those application essays, OCW can hopefully support you in a few other ways during this exciting hectic time, as OCW is always free and open for you anytime and anywhere you need it.

Screenshot of the OCW course homepage for 6.0001 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python.Many incoming students use OCW to preview what college studies are like. For instance, 6.0001 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python is one of the most popular courses at MIT and also on OCW. Freely browse through the teaching materials used in every MIT department and major, and go well beyond the short descriptions in most course catalogs: check out OCW lecture notes, readings, assignments and more from introductory core classes as well as advanced electives.

Screenshot of OCW Find by Topic browser.

Our Find Courses by Topic and Find Courses by Department pages make it easy to explore OCW’s collection of over 2500 courses and supplemental resources from 36 MIT departments and programs.

 

Photo of a group of students celebrating in a lab, with one student being held up in the air by the others.The OCW Highlights for High School has collected resources of particular interest to high school students, and their teachers and parents. Check out our exam prep material, lists of introductory OCW courses to guide and inspire your college search, and cool stuff like the ChemLab Boot Camp reality video series.

Screenshot of First Year STEM courses webpage, highlighting Biology courses.If you’re looking to get ahead in your studies of STEM subjects like Math, Physics, and Computer Science check out the First Year STEM Classes from MIT collection, which includes both MITx on edX and OCW courses. Learn from the same material used by first year MIT students to advance your knowledge, and help you prepare for incoming student placement tests.

Screenshot of webpage "Best of the Blogs."Finally, while it’s not actually part of OCW, we’re big fans of the MIT Admissions student blogs for their direct, honest, diverse and personal account of college life. Whether or not you’re applying to MIT, they’re well worth a read.

 

We wish you all the best in your quest for a great college match!

Featured Collection: Environment Courses

Photo of several people on a hilltop looking over a city, with the ocean in the distance.Like so many of the big challenges taken on at MIT, environmental issues demand an interdisciplinary perspective.

From declining fisheries to acute urban pollution to record-breaking global temperatures, the evidence of human impact on the environment continues to mount. And at the same time, the environment shapes us, as human society and institutions are built upon our connection to the weather, land, water, and other species. What can we learn from ecological systems and cycles? What are the right solutions to our urgent environmental challenges?

MIT scholars, students and alumni are working to understand and help us make progress toward a more sustainable and just world. This core mission draws upon all of the fields represented at MIT: not just science, engineering, and technology, but also the humanities, arts, economics, history, architecture, urban planning, management, policy, and more. Use OCW materials from across these fields to expand your horizons and learn more about our evolving relationship with the environment.

OCW’s Environment Courses list is inspired by two interdisciplinary MIT programs. Many of the list’s undergraduate courses fall within the undergraduate Environment and Sustainability Minor devised by MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI), and the OCW course list employs the undergraduate minor’s four topic pillars. Many of the list’s graduate-level courses are part of the MIT Sloan School of Management Sustainability Certificate curriculum.

Begin your exploration with these highlights from OCW’s collection of over 160 Environment courses.

Earth Systems and Climate Science

12.009J Theoretical Environmental Analysis
This course analyzes cooperative processes that shape the natural environment, now and in the geologic past. It emphasizes the development of theoretical models that relate the physical and biological worlds, the comparison of theory to observational data, and associated mathematical methods.

12.340 Global Warming Science
This course provides students with a scientific foundation of anthropogenic climate change and an introduction to climate models. It focuses on fundamental physical processes that shape climate (e.g. solar variability, orbital mechanics, greenhouse gases, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and volcanic and soil aerosols) and on evidence for past and present climate change. The course considers material consequences of climate change, including sea level change, variations in precipitation, vegetation, storminess, and the incidence of disease, and also examines the science behind mitigation and adaptation proposals.

Engineering for Sustainability

EC.716 D-Lab: Waste
This introductory course takes a multidisciplinary approach to managing waste in low- and middle-income countries, with strategies that diminish greenhouse gas emissions and provide enterprise opportunities for marginalized populations. Topics are presented in real contexts through case studies, field visits, civic engagement and research, and include consumer culture, waste streams, waste management, entrepreneurship and innovation on waste, technology evaluation, downcycling / upcycling, Life Cycle Analysis and waste assessment.

2.627 Fundamentals of Photovoltaics
Fundamentals of photoelectric conversion: charge excitation, conduction, separation, and collection. Lectures cover commercial and emerging photovoltaic technologies and cross-cutting themes, including conversion efficiencies, loss mechanisms, characterization, manufacturing, systems, reliability, life-cycle analysis, risk analysis, and technology evolution in the context of markets, policies, society, and environment.

Environmental Governance

11.601 Introduction to Environmental Policy and Planning
This course focuses on national environmental and energy policy-making; environmental ethics; the techniques of environmental analysis; and strategies for collaborative environmental decision-making. The primary objective is to help students formulate a personal theory of environmental planning practice. The course is taught comparatively, with constant references to examples from around the world. It is required of all graduate students pursuing an environmental policy and planning specialization in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

STS.032 Energy, Environment, and Society: Global Politics, Technologies, and Ecologies of the Water-Energy-Food Crises
With increasing public awareness of the multiple effects of global environmental change, the terms water, energy, and food crisis have become widely used in scientific and political debates on sustainable development and environmental policy. Although each of these crises has distinct drivers and consequences, providing sustainable supplies of water, energy, and food are deeply interrelated challenges and require a profound understanding of the political, socioeconomic, and cultural factors that have historically shaped these interrelations at a local and global scale.

Environmental Histories and Cultures

CMS.631 Data Storytelling Studio: Climate Change
This course explores visualization methodologies to conceive and represent systems and data, e.g., financial, media, economic, political, etc., with a particular focus on climate change data in this version of the course. Topics include basic methods for research, cleaning, and analysis of datasets, and creative methods of data presentation and storytelling. The course considers the emotional, aesthetic, ethical, and practical effects of different presentation methods as well as how to develop metrics for assessing impact.

21W.775 Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues
In this course, students read and write about works that explore symbolic encounters in the American landscape. Some of the assigned works look at uneasy encounters between ordinary individuals and animals—wolves, eagles, sandhill cranes—that Americans have invested with symbolic significance; others explore conflicts between the pragmatic American impulse to impose order on unruly nature and the equally American inclination to enshrine the unaltered landscape.