Spotlight: MIT Open Courseware and busuu.com

No massive commentary today, but I stumbled upon (no, not using stumbleupon; I found them via delicious) some awesome websites that will surely grant you more knowledge, should you use them enough.

The first is MIT’s Open Courseware, a site run by MIT that keeps lecture notes, assignments, and exams for over 1800 courses (yes, real MIT courses) in the pdf format. You can access them for any course, and do the work, though, obviously, no textbooks or professors are included. I find this most useful for sciences, especially math, where no real class discussion is necessary and you can correct your mistakes on your own using the notes provided. Want to brush up on your economic theory? Dive into the reading for the Principles of Microeconomics/Macroeconomics. Want to go teach yourself quantum physics? You’re in luck. The quantity and depth of information presented is simply mind-boggling, as there are just so many options… However, like going to MIT itself, actually trying to teach yourself the information is incredibly tough (especially without a teacher!) and takes a lot of discipline. But, I feel that the payoff is too good to pass up; it’s like getting an MIT education for free, except you ultimately decide how much you learn. And what could be better than that?

The other is busuu.com, a social language learning website. No, it’s not a joke, and yes, it’s really awesome. The premise is this: you choose one (or more) languages to learn out of English, French, German, and Spanish, and you choose different learning units, or groups of 20 or so related words, to learn at a time. For each learning unit, you’ll be presented with vocabulary, a dialogue-comprehension test, a test to describe a picture using the vocab words for the unit (which can be corrected by native speakers on the site, which is, by far, its best feature), and an exam. During any unit, you can also choose to chat (using busuuchat) with a native speaker, testing your grammar and use of the vocabulary words. I’ve done a little so far and it’s definitely addicting and rewarding. I’ve learned quite a bit, and I’ve helped some other people learn as well, by correcting native Spanish/French/German/Whatever other language speakers’ posts in English. It feels good to learn from a native speaker and it feels better to help someone else out, considering how confusing English is to learn as a second/third/fourth language.

Check both these sites out! Of course, on busuu, I’m leapsecond. Happy learning!

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  1. thebeadden

    Thank you for sharing this, Leap. You have no idea how excited I was when I saw the first one. 🙂

  2. I got excited just checking out the courses! It’s tough to learn just using notes and handouts, but I don’t feel like I’m missing that much (so far).

  3. thebeadden

    I saved both of the links. I get more time off in the winter and after Christmas I hope to delve into them.

    It’s funny what excites people. It felt like Christmas when I saw the list! 🙂




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