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MIT OpenCourseWare publishes Linear Algebra in innovative OCW Scholar format

One of OCW's most popular courses, Linear Algebra, is now available in a version designed to support independent learning.
This optical illusion was seen on a restaurant floor in Paris, and coded in MATLAB® by Shev Macnamara. Each color can become the tops of the cubes if you look at them correctly.
This optical illusion was seen on a restaurant floor in Paris, and coded in MATLAB® by Shev Macnamara. Each color can become the tops of the cubes if you look at them correctly.

MIT’s OpenCourseWare has released a new version of Linear Algebra, one of its most visited courses, in the innovative OCW Scholar format designed for independent learners. Taught by Professor Gilbert Strang, 18.06SC Linear Algebra addresses systems of linear equations and the properties of matrices. The concepts of linear algebra are used to solve problems in physics, economics, engineering and other disciplines. 18.06SC is the first of six OCW Scholar courses planned for release by the end of February.

Linear Algebra was one of the original 50 courses published on the MIT OpenCourseWare proof-of-concept site launched in 2002. Over the past 10 years, this course has received a total of 3.1 million visits from educators and learners around the world. Strang, who is one of the most widely known mathematicians in the world, hopes that the new, robust version — with its problem-solving videos — will help students everywhere.

“I'm very proud of this new version of 18.06,” Strang says. “OCW has reached out to millions of educators and learners around the globe. With this new approach, even more people can see the beauty and usefulness of Linear Algebra.” In September, Strang was named the first MathWorks Professor of Mathematics, assuming a professorship recently endowed by MathWorks, the maker of mathematical software.

OCW Scholar courses represent a new approach to OCW publication. MIT professors and students work closely with the OCW team to restructure the learning experience for independent learners, who typically have few additional resources available to them. The courses offer more materials than typical OCW courses and include new custom-created content. The OCW Scholar version of Linear Algebra includes videos of all the course lectures supplemented by lecture summaries and by 36 short videos showing how to solve specific problems.

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 is the first of seven OCW Scholar courses that will be published in 2012. Other upcoming OCW Scholar courses include Principles of Microeconomics, Differential Equations, 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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