Good Vibrations Making Big Waves

Photo of water drop rebounding off surface of water, with several circular waves rolling out.

Vibrations and waves caused by water drops. (Image courtesy of erwan bazin on Flickr. License CC BY-NC-SA.)

By Joe Pickett, OCW Publication Director

Good, good, good, good vibrations . . . are not just fundamental to love, but to the structure of the universe itself.

In fact, “without waves and vibrations, we would not be able to even recognize this universe,” says Professor Yen-Jie Lee, in his introductory video to Physics III: 8.03SC Vibrations and Waves, a course just published on OCW. Think about it: light, sound, brain activity, and even gravitation all involve vibrations and waves. These phenomena are everywhere. To understand them is to understand the universe.

The latest OCW Scholar course, 8.03SC has a tsunami of resources for those interested in discovering the physics that describe these phenomena. The course site has full video lectures, lecture notes, problem sets, exams with solutions, and a free online textbook. A second series of videos by Professor Wit Busza shows how to think about and solve problems.

Like other Scholar courses, 8.03SC is arranged sequentially, by learning units, so you can progress through the semester just the way Professor Lee’s students did. But there’s also a handy resource index to help you quickly zero in on specific resources that might be of interest.

As the description says, “This course will provide you with the concepts and mathematical tools necessary to understand and explain a broad range of vibrations and waves. You will learn that waves come from many interconnected (coupled) objects when they are vibrating together. We will discuss many of these phenomena, along with related topics, including mechanical vibrations and waves, sound waves, electromagnetic waves, optics, and gravitational waves.”

Demos to Make It Real

Man gesturing at a table with a wave demonstration apparatus, saying "Let's see what is going to happen."

Professor Lee conducts one of his many in-class demonstrations which are part of the course videos.

In most lectures, Professor Lee conducts reality-checks for the mathematics he presents by including a variety of physical demonstrations. You’ll see how sound waves can propagate across different systems, how a moonwalk works by having one wave moving forward over another moving backward, how optical fiber transmission is made possible by the way light waves bounce off surfaces, and much, much more. For user convenience, each lecture section also lists the demos separately, so you can go directly to the demos if you like.

Insights into How It Is Taught

In his video Instructor Insights, Professor Lee explains why these demonstrations are so important, how he weaves them into his lectures, and how they must be carefully staged before each lecture. In other insights, he shares further pedagogic stratagems, like how he uses humor to enliven his lectures and reinforce student learning, how he employs questionnaires to adjust the pace of the course to the particular mix of students in a given class, and how and why he has changed the course from the way it was previously taught.

So why not explore 8.03SC? You might catch a wave and find that you’re sitting on top of the world!

Brains, Minds and Machines: An Interdisciplinary Tour-de-Force

Diagram of human brain highlighting different regions; a process flow diagram about understanding a visual scene; and photo of a humanoid robot.What is the nature of intelligence?

How does the brain produce intelligent behavior?

How can we apply this understanding to build wiser and more useful machines, for the benefit of society?

By Curt Newton, OCW Site Curator

If these questions grab your interest, check out OCW’s just-published Brains, Minds and Machines Summer Course. It’s an interdisciplinary tour-de-force, presenting some of the latest thinking in neuroscience, cognitive science, computation, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

These questions are animating some of the world’s brightest minds — especially here at MIT, with the recently-announced Intelligence Quest initiative.

Consider the challenge of self-driving vehicles. Safe driving is plenty hard for humans…can we build machines which are better drivers? There are myriad challenges, like sophisticated vision, the ability to understand scenes, learn, and make predictions, and acting instantaneously on feedback. We need to understand these sophisticated behaviors, and many others, in “engineering” terms before we can build and use them in systems.

That’s precisely what this course is about. Through video lectures, panel discussions, and tutorials, you’ll get a state-of-the-art perspective from 40 faculty and research leaders: what do we know, what’s going on in labs right now, and where are we heading?

The course is organized by the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines: a National Science Foundation-funded multi-institutional collaboration for the interdisciplinary study of intelligence, headquartered at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and with managing partners at Harvard University.

The course is designed for graduate students, postdocs, faculty and professionals who may be well-grounded in one field, and want to develop a grasp of the synergistic interplay among all these related fields. Its goal is to “create a community of leaders in the science of intelligence who are equally knowledgeable in neuroscience, cognitive science, and computer science.”

The OCW course site is organized into 9 units. It’s chock full of video, over 46 hours in all, and with extensive linked reading lists for each unit.

Here are just a few of the many highlights:

Recognizing it’s hard to be an expert in every one of these fields, the OCW course site includes a set of background tutorials to bring you up to speed on topics like neuroscience, machine learning, and neural decoding.

Students enrolled in the summer course put their learning into practice by working on an open-ended project of their choice. Learn more about these projects through short video interviews with some students.

This new OCW course site enriches our Supplemental Resource collection of materials from outside the official MIT curriculum. The summer course also forms a basis for the on-campus MIT course 9.523 Aspects of a Computation Theory of Intelligence. Instructor Insights from Ellen Hildreth, the summer course coordinator, describe the summer course’s conversion into a focused full-semester MIT course.

Participants in the Brains, Minds and Machines Summer Course have an intensive non-stop learning experience. Fortunately, OCW lets you explore the materials at your own pace, in your own sequence, and return to it again and again. There’s a LOT to learn here, and the future world awaits!

More of OCW’s Greatest Hits: Political Science and Global Studies and Languages

By Joe Pickett, OCW Publication Director

In this post, we continue our Greatest Hits series, highlighting here the most visited OCW courses from the departments of Political Science and Global Studies and Languages.

As with other departments, introductory courses get the most visits.


Photo of a wooden gavel on a tabletop.

(Photo courtesy of Daniel Bersak.)

Political Science

  • 17.03 Introduction to Political Thought taught by Sarah Song
    “This course examines major texts in the history of political thought and the questions they raise about the design of the political and social order. It considers the ways in which thinkers have responded to the particular political problems of their day, and the ways in which they contribute to a broader conversation about human goods and needs, justice, democracy, and the proper relationship of the individual to the state.”
  • 17.158 Political Economy of Western Europe taught by Professor Suzanne Berger
    “This course examines the role of European states in postwar period of rapid economic growth and current crisis. Includes analysis of different state traditions (“etatist,” liberal, authoritarian); government’s role in decline of some economies and rise of others; why and where Keynesianism, indicative planning, and state enterprises were introduced; alternative conceptions of contemporary economic problems . . . and of policies to deal with them.”
  • 17.881 Game Theory and Political Theory taught by Professor James Snyder
    “This course aims to give students an entry-level understanding of the basic concepts of game theory, and how these concepts have been applied to the study of political phenomena. Because an important component of game theory in political science and political economy is the analysis of substantive political phenomena, we will cover illustrative examples each week in combination with methodological developments. The political and economic phenomena that we will examine include legislative rules, nuclear deterrence, electoral competition, and imperfect markets.”
  • 17.20 Introduction to American Politics taught by Professor Devin Caughey
    “This course provides a substantive overview of U.S. politics and an introduction to the discipline of political science. It surveys the institutional foundations of U.S. politics as well as the activities of political elites, organizations, and ordinary citizens. It also explores the application of general political science concepts and analytic frameworks to specific episodes and phenomena in U.S. politics.”
  • 17.000J Political Philosophy: Global Justice taught by Professors Joshua Cohen, Thomas Scanlon, and Amartya Sen
    “This course explores the foundations and content of norms of justice that apply beyond the borders of a single state. We examine issues of political justice, economic justice, and human rights. Topics include the case for skepticism about global justice; the idea of global democracy; intellectual property rights; the nature of distributive justice at the global level; pluralism and human rights; and rights to control borders.”

Photo of a Japanese temple gate with red-leaved maple tree out front.

(Photo courtesy of eien no dreamer on Flickr. CC-BY-NC-SA.)

Global Studies and Languages

  • 21G.701 Spanish I taught by Margueritas Ribas Groeger and Solivia Márquez
    “This course deals with all basic language skills: aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. This class assumes no previous knowledge of Spanish . . . The central component of the text and workbook is a series of 26 half-hour video episodes. The videos allow students to learn authentic Spanish and experience its cultural diversity while following a good story full of surprises and human emotions. Students also listen to an audio-only program integrated with the text and workbook. In the classroom, students do a variety of activities and exercises, which include talking in Spanish about the video program, practicing pronunciation and grammar, and interacting in Spanish with classmates in pairs and small groups.”
  • 21G.501 Japanese I taught by Masami Ikeda-Lamm and Yoshimi Nagaya
    “The main objective of this course is to build up four basic skills in Japanese: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will acquire the basic understanding of the Japanese language structures as well as learning kana and some kanji, the Japanese characters. It is important to keep in mind that you are expected to develop the ability to communicate in the Japanese language appropriately in the given social situations. Therefore, you will be given a lot of oral practices aiming at cultivating active command of Japanese.”
  • 21G.223 Listening, Speaking, and Pronouncing taught by Isaiah WonHo Yoo
    “This course is designed for high-intermediate ESL students who need to develop better listening comprehension and oral skills, which will primarily be achieved by detailed instructions on pronunciation. Our focus will be on (1) producing accurate and intelligible English, (2) becoming more comfortable listening to rapidly spoken English, and (3) learning common expressions, gambits, and idioms used in both formal and informal contexts.”
  • 21G.101 Chinese I (Regular) taught by Dr. Haohsiang Liao
    “This subject is the first semester of four that forms an introduction to modern standard Chinese, commonly called Mandarin, the language with the largest number of native speakers in the world . . . The course presupposes no prior background in the language. Course objectives are to master Mandarin pronunciation, including the recognition and writing of Pinyin romanization, basic reading and writing skills . . . and to develop the ability to participate in simple, practical conversations on everyday topics.” This course features video Instructor Insights in both English and Chinese in which Dr. Liao explains how he teaches.
  • 21G.301 French I taught by Cathy Culot, Gilberte Furstenberg, Johann Sadock, Laura Ceia-Minjares, and Sabine Levet
    “This is an introductory course that is conducted entirely in French. The goals for this semester are: to be able to understand, speak, write and read in the present, future and past tenses; to be able to write short compositions without the use of a dictionary; to become acquainted with French and Francophone customs, history and civilization on a simple scale; and to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for your own culture as well as others’.”

Greatest Hits of the Humanities, Part IV: Music and Theater Arts

By Joe Pickett, OCW Publication Director

Sing! Play! Dance! Make a Scene!

Get ready for the fourth and final installment in our survey of the most visited courses in the Humanities, this episode featuring courses from the MIT department of Music and Theater Arts. We present courses from each of these disciplines, which are combined in one department at MIT.

As with our other lists of most popular OCW sites, introductory courses stand out. These courses are distinguished by fascinating reading and listening and by creative activities and projects!


Photo of two singers on microphones with a recording engineering in the background.

21M.380 students run a recording session with the MIT Ohms acapella singing group. (Photo by MIT OpenCourseWare.)

Music

  • 21M.051 Fundamentals of Music taught by Pamela Wood
    “This class introduces students to the rudiments of Western music through oral, aural, and written practice utilizing rhythm, melody, intervals, scales, chords, and musical notation. The approach is based upon the inclusive Kodály philosophy of music education. Individual skills are addressed through a variety of means, emphasizing singing and keyboard practice in the required piano labs.”
  • 21M.011 Introduction to Western Music taught by Professor Ellen Harris
    “This course gives a broad overview of Western music from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, with emphasis on late baroque, classical, romantic, and modernist styles (1700-1910). It is also meant to enhance students’ musical experience by developing listening skills and an understanding of diverse forms and genres. Major composers and their works will be placed in social and cultural contexts.”
  • 21M.351 Music Composition taught by Professor Peter Child
    “This course features directed composition of larger forms of original writing involving voices and/or instruments. It includes a weekly seminar in composition for the presentation and discussion of work in progress. Students are expected to produce at least one substantive work, performed in public, by the end of the term. Contemporary compositions and major works from 20th-century music literature are studied.”
  • 21M.380 Music and Technology: Recording Techniques and Audio Production taught by Professor Christopher Ariza
    “This course covers foundations, practices, and creative techniques in audio recording and music production, including microphone selection and placement, mixing, mastering, signal processing, automation, and digital audio workstations.”
  • 21M.301 Harmony and Counterpoint I taught by Professor Brian Robison
    “…[W]e will study the basic harmonic, melodic, and formal practices of western music, principally the classical music of central Europe during the eighteenth century. Topics will include diatonic harmony, simple counterpoint in two parts, and tones of figuration. The coursework will combine composition, listening, analysis, and work in sight-singing and keyboard musicianship.”

Photo of a student wearing assortment of costume elements.

A student in 21M.715 The Craft of Costume Design models various costume elements. (Photo by Leslie Held; costuming by an MIT student. Used with permission.)

Theater

  • 21M.732 Beginning Costume Design and Construction taught by Leslie Cocuzzo Held
    “This is an intermediate workshop designed for students who have a basic understanding of the principles of theatrical design and who want a more intensive study of costume design and the psychology of clothing. Students develop designs that emerge through a process of character analysis, based on the script and directorial concept. Period research, design, and rendering skills are fostered through practical exercises. Instruction in basic costume construction, including drafting and draping, provide tools for students to produce final projects.”
  • 21M.604 Playwriting I taught by Laura Harrington
    “This class introduces the craft of writing for the theater. Through weekly assignments, in class writing exercises, and work on a sustained piece, students explore scene structure, action, events, voice, and dialogue. We examine produced playscripts and discuss student work. This class’s emphasis is on process, risk-taking, and finding one’s own voice and vision.”
  • 21M.603 Principles of Design taught by Karen Perlow, Leslie Cocuzzo Held, Michael Katz, and William Fregosi
    “This course deals with advanced design theories and textual analysis. Emphasis is placed on script analysis in general, as well as the investigation of design principles from a designer’s perspective. Students also refine technical skills in rendering and presentation, historical research, and analysis. Class sessions include interaction with student/faculty directors and other staff designers. The goal of this course is for students to approach text with a fresh vision and translate that vision into design for performance.”
  • 21M.715 The Craft of Costume Design taught by Leslie Cocuzzo Held
    “This class provides an overview of some of the techniques used in creating costume pieces that are crafted rather than sewn. We will use a variety of materials and techniques to create specific costume pieces while at the same time exploring alternative applications possible for each material/technique. Students should come to class prepared to be painted, dyed, gilded, dusted and dirtied.”
  • 21M.675 Dance Theory and Composition taught by Thomas De Frantz
    “This course introduces students to the art and formal ideologies of contemporary dance. We explore the aesthetic and technical underpinnings of contemporary dance composition. Basic compositional techniques are discussed and practiced, with an emphasis on principles such as weight, space, time, effort, and shape. Principles of musicality are considered and developed by each student. Working with each other as the raw material of the dance, students develop short compositions that reveal their understanding of basic techniques. Hopefully, students come to understand a range of compositional possibilities available to artists who work with the medium of the human body.”

See all Music and Theater Arts courses on OCW >

Greatest Hits of the Humanities, Part III: Linguistics and Philosophy

By Joe Pickett, OCW Publication Director

Now for the third installment in our survey of the most visited courses in the Humanities, this one featuring courses from the MIT department of Linguistics and Philosophy.

The list below has courses from both disciplines housed in this department. As with our other lists of most popular OCW sites, introductory courses predominate.

These course sites are distinguished by fascinating reading and often helpful notes. So be sure to check out their varying arrays of resources.


Photo of a road sign with directions in both English and Welsh.

A bilingual road sign with directions in both English and Welsh. (Image courtesy of Stefan Baguette.)

Linguistics

  • 24.900 Introduction to Linguistics taught by Professor David Pesetsky
    “This course studies what is language and what does knowledge of a language consist of. It asks how do children learn languages and is language unique to humans; why are there many languages; how do languages change; is any language or dialect superior to another; and how are speech and writing related.”
  • 24.901 Language and Its Structure I: Phonology taught by Professor Michael Kenstowicz
    “24.901 is designed to give you a preliminary understanding of how the sound systems of different languages are structured, how and why they may differ from each other. The course also aims to provide you with analytical tools in phonology, enough to allow you to sketch the analysis of an entire phonological system by the end of the term. On a non-linguistic level, the course aims to teach you by example the virtues of formulating precise and explicit descriptive statements; and to develop your skills in making and evaluating arguments.”
  • 24.906J Linguistic Studies of Bilingualism taught by Suzanne Flynn
    “This course studies the development of bilingualism in human history (from Australopithecus to present day). It focuses on linguistic aspects of bilingualism; models of bilingualism and language acquisition; competence versus performance; effects of bilingualism on other domains of human cognition; brain imaging studies; early versus late bilingualism; opportunities to observe and conduct original research; and implications for educational policies among others. The course is taught in English.”
  • 24.902 Language and Its Structure II: Syntax (Fall 2003) taught by Professor David Pesetsky
    “This course will acquaint you with some of the important results and ideas of the last half – century of research in syntax. We will explore a large number of issues and a large amount of data so that you can learn something of what this field is all about . . . At the same time, you will learn the mechanics of one particular approach (sometimes called Principles and Parameters syntax). Most of all, the course tries to show why the study of syntax is exciting, and why its results are important to researchers in other language sciences.”
  • 24.902 Language and Its Structure II: Syntax (Fall 2015) taught by Professor Sabine Iatridou
    “This course covers some of the basic ideas in the subfield syntax, within the framework often referred to as “Generative Grammar” . . . We will explore the hierarchical organization of language and look at a number of syntactic phenomena that are common in completely unrelated languages and try to understand them. We will also look at differences among languages and try to understand what some possible ways are in which languages can differ.”
  • 24.903 Language and Its Structure III: Semantics and Pragmatics taught by Professor Kai von Fintel
    “This course gives an introduction to the science of linguistic meaning. There are two branches to this discipline: semantics, the study of conventional, “compositional meaning”, and pragmatics, the study of interactional meaning. There are other contributaries: philosophy, logic, syntax, and psychology. We will try to give you an understanding of the concepts of semantics and pragmatics and of some of the technical tools that we use.”

Photo of seated man sculpture in front of a museum building.

The Thinker shows a philosopher at work. (Image by asmythie on Flickr.)

Philosophy

  • 24.00 Problems in Philosophy taught by Professor Richard Holton
    “The course should really be called “God, Knowledge, Consciousness, Freedom, Survival, and Doing the Right Thing,” because that is what we’re going to be talking about. One goal is to give you a sense of what famous philosophers have said about these topics . . . A second goal is to get you thinking, and writing, and arguing, in a philosophical way yourself.”
  • 24.200 Ancient Philosophy taught by Professor Sally Haslanger
    “This course will acquaint the student with some of the ancient Greek contributions to the Western philosophical and scientific tradition. We will examine a broad range of central philosophical themes concerning: nature, law, justice, knowledge, virtue, happiness, and death. There will be a strong emphasis on analyses of arguments found in the texts.”
  • 24.241 Logic I taught by Ephraim Glick
    “In this course we will cover central aspects of modern formal logic, beginning with an explanation of what constitutes good reasoning. Topics will include validity and soundness of arguments, formal derivations, truth-functions, translations to and from a formal language, and truth-tables.”
  • 24.01 Classics in Western Philosophy taught by Rae Langton
    “This course will introduce you to the Western philosophical tradition, through the study of major figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, and Kant. You will get to grips with questions that have been significant to philosophy from its beginnings: questions about the nature of the mind or soul, the existence of God, the foundations of knowledge, ethics and the good life.”
  • 24.235J Philosophy of Law taught by Professor Julia Markovits
    “This course examines fundamental issues in the philosophy of law, including the nature and content of law, its relation to morality, theories of legal interpretation, and the obligation to obey the law, as well as philosophical issues and problems associated with punishment and responsibility, liberty, and legal ethics.”

See all Linguistics and Philosophy courses on OCW >

See all posts in this Greatest Hits of the Humanities series:

Courses from MIT’s 2018 MacVicar Fellows

Four faculty portrait photos.

The 2018 MacVicar Faculty fellows are (clockwise from top left): Shankar Raman, David Autor, Merritt Roe Smith, and Christopher Capozzola.
(Courtesy of MIT Registrar’s Office.)

By Sarah Hansen, OCW Educator Project Manager

For the past 26 years, the MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program has honored several MIT professors each year who have made outstanding contributions to undergraduate teaching, educational innovation, and mentoring.

This year’s awardees are Professors David Autor (economics), Christopher Capozzola (history), Shankar Raman (literature), and Merritt Roe Smith (history).

OCW is honored to share courses from all of this year’s Fellows.

David Autor

14.03 Microeconomic Theory and Public Policy

14.661 Labor Economics I

14.11 Putting Social Sciences to the Test: Field Experiments in Economics

14.662 Labor Economics II

Christopher Capozzola

21M.630 Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies

21H.223 War & American Society

21H.221 The Places of  Migration in United States History

21H.105 American Classics

21H.225J Gender and the Law in U.S. History 

21H.224 Law and Society in US History

Shankar Raman

21L.451 Introduction to Literary Theory

21L.704 Studies in Poetry: From the Sonneteers to the Metaphysicals

21L.009 Shakespeare

21L.703 English Renaissance Drama: Theatre and Society in the Age of Shakespeare

21L.017 The Art of the Probable: Literature and Probability

Merritt Roe Smith

STS.462 Social and Political Implications of Technology

21H.116J The Civil War and Reconstruction

STS.050 The History of MIT

STS.001 Technology in American History

STS.025J Making the Modern World: The Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective

STS.427 The Civil War and the Emergence of Modern America, 1861-1890

Through the OCW Educator initiative, we have also collected Instructor Insights from Professor David Autor about how he teaches 14.03 Microeconomic Theory and Public Policy. His roundabout path to teaching labor economics is both fascinating and encouraging to those of us on a winding path toward finding our passions!

Interested in more Instructor Insights from past MacVicar Fellows? Visit our OCW Educator portal to search for Insights from MIT Teaching Award Recipients. Delve into the minds of Lorna Gibson, Catherine Drennan, Arthur Bahr, Dennis Freeman, and many other MIT professors advancing teaching and learning in their fields.

Greatest Hits of the Humanities, Part II: Literature and Writing

Head-on photo of Buster Keaton crouched on the cowcatcher of a steam locomotive.

Buster Keaton in The General (1926), one of the films explored in 21L.011 The Film Experience. (Public domain image.)

By Joe Pickett, OCW Publication Director

Herewith, Part II of our list of the most visited OCW course sites in the Humanities, this part featuring Literature and Writing courses. [See Part I here.] Naturally, most writing courses entail a healthy amount of reading, so there is some natural overlap between these two academic ventures, and instructors often sail their boats on both ponds.

Literature and writing are fed and replenished by many related disciplines. So it’s worth noting how many of these courses also venture far upstream into other territories, such as film, history, biology, cooking, photography, and mobile technology.

While assignments distinguish all academic courses, in literature and writing courses they form the heart of the experience, so be sure to check those out.


Painted portrait of woman seated in front of a dark background.

Portrait of Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell. (Image courtesy of wikipedia.org.)

Literature

  • 21L.011 The Film Experience taught by Professor David Thorburn
    “Through comparative reading of films from different eras and countries, students develop the skills to turn their in-depth analyses into interpretations and explore theoretical issues related to spectatorship.”
  • 21L.448J Darwin and Design taught by Professor James Paradis
    “This course covers social development, social behavior, social cognition and social neuroscience, in both human and non-human social animals. Topics include altruism, empathy, communication, theory of mind, aggression, power, groups, mating, and morality. Methods include evolutionary biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, social psychology and anthropology.”
  • 21L.707 Reading Cookbooks: from The Forme of Cury to The Smitten Kitchen taught by Ina Lipkowitz
    “ . . . students will visit the past through cookbooks to learn about what foodstuffs and technologies were available and when, and how religious and nutritional concerns dictated what was eaten and how it was cooked. Students will also learn about the gender dynamics of culinary writing and performances and the roles people played in writing and cooking recipes.”
  • 21L.003 Introduction to Fiction taught by Wyn Kelley
    “This course investigates the uses and boundaries of fiction in a range of novels and narrative styles–traditional and innovative, western and nonwestern–and raises questions about the pleasures and meanings of verbal texts in different cultures, times, and forms.”
  • 21L.000J Writing about Literature taught by Wyn Kelley
    “Through the ways they engage with their own texts and those of other artists, sampling, remixing, and rethinking texts and genres, writers reflect on and inspire questions about the creative process. We will examine Mary Shelley’s reshaping of Milton’s Paradise Lost, German fairy tales, tales of scientific discovery, and her husband’s poems to make Frankenstein (1818, 1831); Melville’s redesign of a travel narrative into a Gothic novella in Benito Cereno (1856); and Alison Bechdel’s rewriting of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) in her graphic novel Fun Home (2006).”

See all Literature courses on OCW >


Photo of a handwritten diagram on sheet of paper, with numerous blocks of text interconnected with arrows.

Planning diagram for a short story. (Image courtesy of Simon Scott on Flickr.)

Writing

  • 21W.755 Reading and Writing Short Stories taught by Shariann Lewitt
    “Students will write stories and short descriptive sketches. Students will read great short stories and participate in class discussions of students’ writing and the assigned stories in their historical and social contexts.”
  • 21W.730-2 The Creative Spark taught by Karen Boiko
    “Under what conditions does [creativity] flourish—what ignites the creative spark? Attempting to answer these questions, this class explores ways creativity has been understood in Western culture: what we prize and fear about creativity and its wellsprings; how writers, artists, scientists and inventors have described their own creative processes; how psychologists and philosophers have theorized it; ways in which creativity has been represented in Western culture.”
  • 21W.735 Writing and Reading the Essay taught by Dr. Rebecca Blevins Faery
    “This is a course focused on the literary genre of the essay, that wide-ranging, elastic, and currently very popular form that attracts not only nonfiction writers but also fiction writers, poets, scientists, physicians, and others to write in the form, and readers of every stripe to read it.”
  • 21W.789 Communicating with Mobile Technology taught by Dr. Edward C. Barrett and Frank Bentley
    “Students work in small collaborative design teams to propose, build, and document a semester-long project focused on mobile applications for cell phones. Additional assignments include creating several small mobile applications such as context-aware mobile media capture and games. Students document their work through a series of written and oral proposals, progress reports, and final reports.”

See all Writing courses on OCW >
(MIT recently combined its Writing program with Comparative Media Studies into the CMS/W department, but has kept the 21W numbering for writing courses.)