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Differential Equations now available in MIT OpenCourseWare's innovative OCW Scholar format

18.03SC is the second of seven courses OCW will publish this spring specifically to meet the needs of independent learners.
Phase portrait of a damped harmonic oscillator.
Phase portrait of a damped harmonic oscillator.
Image courtesy of Jeremy and Joel Orloff

MIT OpenCourseWare has released a new version of Differential Equations in the innovative OCW Scholar format designed for independent learners. Organized by Professor Haynes Miller and Dr. Jeremy Orloff, 18.03SC Differential Equations includes lecture videos, exams and solutions, and interactive Java® demonstrations. Differential equations are important to scientists and engineers who need to model natural systems and solve engineering problems.

The original version of 18.03 Differential Equations was first published on OCW in 2004 and has regularly been among the most visited courses on the site, attracting more than 30,000 users each month. Both the original version and the new Scholar version include video recorded in the MIT classroom by renowned math professor Arthur Mattuck. In 1992, Mattuck was among the first group of faculty to be designated Margaret MacVicar Fellows, which recognizes faculty who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to the teaching and education of undergraduates at MIT.

"It's a real thrill to integrate these outstanding lectures into a format specifically designed to support online learning," Miller says. "It brings the best of the classroom together with new learning approaches enabled by the Internet." Miller is also a MacVicar Fellow.

OCW Scholar courses represent a new approach to OCW publication. MIT faculty, staff and students work closely with the OCW team to structure the course materials for independent learners. These courses offer more materials than typical OCW courses and include new custom-created content. In addition to the lecture videos, exams and demonstrations, the OCW Scholar version of Differential Equations includes course notes, problem sets and solutions, and a unique series of video problem-solving sessions recorded specifically for this publication.

The first five of a planned 15 OCW Scholar courses were launched by MIT OpenCourseWare in January 2011, and have collectively received more than 800,000 visits in less than a year. The initial OCW Scholar courses included Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Solid State Chemistry, Single Variable Calculus, and Multivariable Calculus.

Linear Algebra was published earlier this year, and Differential Equations is the second of seven OCW Scholar courses that will be published in 2012. Other upcoming OCW Scholar courses include Principles of Microeconomics, Introduction to Psychology, Fundamentals of Biology, Introduction to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science I, and Introduction to Computer Science and Programming. OCW Scholar courses are published on the OCW site with the support of the Stanton Foundation.

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