An MIT web site aimed at giving an edge to high school students and teachers has seen an "overwhelming" response since its launch six months ago, MIT President Susan Hockfield said Wednesday.
The Highlights for High School portal, part of MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative, allows students and teachers to easily find MIT course material that can help them prepare for Advanced Placement courses--at no charge.
Since its launch about six months ago, more than 260,000 visitors from 190 countries have used the site, Hockfield said. Thirty-seven percent of those are high school educators, 16 percent are high school students and 13 percent are parents.
"The response has been overwhelming," Hockfield said. "It is clearly already beginning to have an impact with the populations we are looking at."
Hockfield talked about the web site during an event held at MIT to kick off a new state program designed to boost enrollment and achievement in Advanced Placement courses, particularly among minority students.
MIT helped the Mass Insight Education and Research Institute win a $13.2 million grant for the state from the National Math and Science Initiative for the program, known as the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative (MMSI). Hockfield said she has high hopes for MMSI, which will be launched this fall in 10 schools across the state.
"MMSI fosters the dignity of high expectations and gives students in tough circumstances the confidence to start on a different path," she said at the event, held in the Vannevar Bush Room.
Hockfield also highlighted some of the efforts MIT is already making to help prepare high school students for rigorous education in math and science.
For the past four years, MIT has had a close relationship with the John D. O'Bryant School of Math and Science in Roxbury, coordinated by Professor J. Kim Vandiver, dean for undergraduate research. Hockfield announced that this fall, MIT will enroll its first two graduates of the O'Bryant School.
"That is wonderful proof of what can happen when you invest energy and resources into a school, and then stick with it," Hockfield said.