Seven years ago, MIT announced the start of a global movement to open up the ivory tower to the entire world. Since then, the university has posted almost 2,000 of its courses online for free, and scores of top schools have followed suit, publishing free podcasts and videos of semester-long classes in subjects ranging from physics to phonology. Here's what your schedule could look like...
Physics I: Classical Mechanics, MIT
A daredevil approach to explaining the laws of the universe has made Walter Lewin an Internet celebrity. In one course video, he simulates rocket propulsion by riding around his classroom on a tricycle powered by a fire extinguisher; in another, to act out the physics of pendulums, he swings on a steel ball hanging from the lecture hall ceiling. (www.ocw.mit.edu)
Intro to Psychology, Yale
Paul Bloom delves into the deepest mysteries of the human mind: Can we trust our childhood memories? What's the difference between mental illness and evil? How do we know what feelings are morally incorrect? Why do certain people turn us on? (www.oyc.yale.edu)
Intro to Human Nutrition, University of California, Berkeley
"Never again eat foods that you hate"—that's Nancy Amy's goal for her students, who learn that the pleasures of a healthy diet go way beyond egg whites and broccoli. Amy's course (the most popular at Berkeley, with a typical enrollment of 700) also explores the causes of global food crises and malnutrition. (www.webcast.berkeley.edu)
Ancient Wisdom and Modern Love, Notre Dame
Through the study of Death in Venice, Lord of the Rings, Plato's Symposium, the books of Genesis and Matthew, and more, David O'Connor rethinks common assumptions about love, sex, and marriage and convinces his students that philosophy can make us better, more discerning lovers—that we can fall madly in love without going mad. (www.ocw.nd.edu)
From the September 2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!