Need a refresher course on accounting for derivatives? Thanks to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and its burgeoning OpenCourseWare program, executives can now go back to school without entering a classroom.
OCW is a free educational resource that gives self-learners access to course materials published by participating schools, including MIT's Sloan School of Management. MIT officials are working to convince other universities to add materials, and Notre Dame, Tufts, and Yale have recently signed on. Executives with a global bent can access materials from hundreds of schools internationally, including those in the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and China.
In many cases, lecture notes, case studies, reading lists, and copies of exams are available. "By the end of 2007, we hope to have our entire Sloan Business School curriculum online," says OCW senior strategist Stephen Carson. Currently 133 Sloan courses are available.
The program is funded by grants and corporate sponsors. Class materials can be obtained by anyone with Internet access, but the program does not offer credit or degrees.
So will students be interested in education without certificates? "If the information is valuable, people will seek it out, period," says Marc Rosenberg, author of Beyond E-Learning. To access materials, go to http://ocw.mit.edu.