Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MITx 6.002x: Circuits and Electronics

A few weeks ago, I signed up for MIT's new offering, through their MITx program, a course on Circuits and Electronics.  It's based on their 6.002 course of the same name and connects physics to circuits through a series of abstractions.  The program lasts fourteen weeks, has both a midterm and final exam, and leads to a certificate.  Now that the boring definition is handled, let me tell you what it's really about.

Today was the first day of class, with a series of lecture, labs, and homework.  The video lectures are at a very high level.  You can download the lecture notes, which are basically what appears on the screen during the lecture.  Scattered between the lectures, which last between two and eleven minutes (so far) are quizzes.  Unfortunately, the quizzes are based on the far more technical book reading rather than lectures, and barely even then. 

The prerequisites include at least an AP physics education and (preferably) being able to solve simple partial differential equations.  I don't have to tell you that I'm a bit worried about some of that.  I took a few electrical engineering classes when I first started college, but (1) that was a long time ago and (2) those classes were far more practical than these.  I'm not ashamed to say that I would have struggled with the MIT curriculum, had I applied and got accepted.  I would also give up a limb to have earned a degree from there, preferably my left leg.

This class will be difficult, but worth it, even if I don't earn the certificate.  They even plan to add the follow up classes in the future, and I plan to take those as well. 

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