Want to take any MIT course for free?

MIT’s OpenCourseWare is progressing at a blistering pace. I’m not certain what percentage of the undergrad/graduate level courses are represented by the 1,550 courses, but MIT says they expect virtually all to be online by the end of 2008:

MIT OCW’s goals are to:

• Provide free, searchable, access to MIT’s course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.

• Extend the reach and impact of MIT OCW and the “opencourseware” concept.

…We expect MIT OCW to reach a steady – though never static – state by 2008. Between now and then, we will publish the materials from virtually all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses.

We will be continually evaluating the Access, Use, and Impact of MIT OCW. With 1,550 courses published as of November 1, 2006, we are still in a learning stage of this MIT initiative and we will benefit enormously from your feedback, as we strive to make MIT OCW as rich and useful as possible for our users.

Anyone with an internet connection can access the material – think Africa, think rural Mexico, think state college student unable to afford MIT, think retired folks with a thirst to know more, think Cuba:

…This MIT initiative can collaborate to deepen in our developing country the access to knowledge of quality.” – Dr. Francisco Benitez Cardenas, President of Havana (Cuba) Agricultural University.

From the Evaluation page, here are indications of the demographic breadth of access:

OCW is accessed by a broadly international population of educators and learners.

61% of OCW traffic is non-US; East Asia-22%, Western Europe-15%, South Asia-6%, Latin America-5%, other regions-13%.

49% of visitors are self learners, 32% students, 16% educators

Tufts is funding an effort similar to MIT’s, and offers a resource page of other OpenCourseWare undertakings around the world.