OpenFiction [Blog]

MIT OpenCourseWare publishes Linear Algebra in innovative OCW Scholar format

Posted in media, MIT OpenCourseWare, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on January 24, 2012

One of OCW’s most popular courses, Linear Algebra, is now available in a version designed to support independent learning.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, January 24, 2012 — 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 seven 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 ten years this course has received a total of 3.1 million visits from educators and learners around the world. Professor 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,” said Professor Strang.  “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 twenty 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.

About MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of substantially all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,100 in all—available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 1.75 million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 100 million individuals have accessed OCW materials.  MIT OpenCourseWare is supported by donations from site visitors, grants and corporate sponsorship.

About Gilbert Strang

Gilbert Strang attended MIT as an undergraduate and was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA, and since then he has taught at MIT. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He is the MathWorks Professor of Mathematics at MIT and an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, and has published eight textbooks.  He was the President of SIAM during 1999 and 2000, and Chair of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics. He has received numerous awards and prizes, including the von Neumann Medal, the Henrici Prize, first Su Buchin Prize, and the Haimo Prize.

About the Stanton Foundation

The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications. During his 25 years as president of CBS, he turned a lesser-known radio network into a broadcasting powerhouse. Stanton made many historic contributions to the industry and to the society it served. In 1960, he initiated the first televised presidential debates—the famous Nixon-Kennedy “Great Debates”—which required a special Act of Congress before they could proceed.  He also spearheaded the creation of the first coast-to-coast broadcasting system, allowing CBS to become the first network to present a news event live across the continental United States, a speech by President Truman at the opening of the Japanese Peace Conference in San Francisco. Frank Stanton was the commencement speaker at MIT in 1961.


Stephen Carson

External Relations Director

MIT OpenCourseWare


MIT OpenCourseWare 2011 year-end numbers

Posted in Evaluation, MIT OpenCourseWare, OpenCourseWare, Video by scarsonmsm on January 11, 2012

Another good year for MIT OpenCourseWare.  Big story here is the tremendous jump in YouTube numbers–this plus the 12 million iTunes U downloads and the redistribution we are getting through Chinese sites like (which we get no reporting from) means that a lot of the OCW activity is through our video redistribution.

• 18.6 million visits (+1.2 million over last year) 10.2 million repeat visits, 8.4 million new visits
• 9.8 million visitors (+200K)
• 1.92 visits per visitor (+0.10)
• 101.4 million page views (+3.1 million)
• 5.42 pages per visit (-0.21)
• 1.8 M zip files of course content downloaded (-.1 million)
• 11.4 million YouTube views (+4.1 million)
• 12 million iTunes downloads (+0.2 million)
• 317K visits from the MIT community (+42K)
• 361K visits referred by StumbleUpon (-85K); 183K by EducationPortal (+23K); 178K by Facebook (+100K); 157K by Reddit (-15K); 117K by Wikipedia (+5K); 111K by YouTube (+16K)
• 33% of visitors used Firefox (-5%); 26% used Chrome (+11%); 23% used IE (-11%); 14% used Safari (+4%)
• 2.37% used iOS (+1.57)