“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Such was the wisdom of American industrialist Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company and father of the modern assembly line. I agree with the sentiment and attempt to make every day a learning experience (working in a library is a big help in this endeavor). If you feel like I do, then you may be interested in checking out one of the many OpenCourseWare offerings available online.
OpenCourseWare can be defined as the free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses. Such courses typically do not offer certification, or access to instructors, but are excellent resources for furthering your own knowledge in a given area. The first OpenCourseWare selections were offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 and since then a large and growing number of institutions (including many highly regarded universities such as Stanford, Yale, and Harvard Medical School, among others) have published their own OpenCourseWare projects. As of 2009, MIT had over 1900 courses available online, with reading lists and discussion topics, homework problems and exams (often with solutions) and lecture notes. Some courses also include interactive web demonstrations in Java or MATLAB, complete textbooks written by MIT professors, and streaming video lectures. Other institutions boast similar offerings.
For a list of institutions offering OpenCourseWare resources, click here. The listings are divided into nine categories, including Academic Behemoths (MIT), Ivy League (Yale), and International (University of Tokyo). Or, if you prefer, you can utilize the OCW Finder, which, as its name suggests, helps people find OpenCourseWare.
Of course, if you are interested in autodidacticism you needn’t venture farther than your neighborhood library. The DCPL catalog contains two excellent educational series (Great Courses and Modern Scholar) available for checkout in both CD and DVD format.
So take advantage of these resources and keep your mind young for life!