The present era has seen an upsurge of scientific explorations and with the progress of the passage of time technological innovations have improved considering. One of the most significant technological innovations of the present century is computers and with the coming of the Internet, the whole mode of communication has revolutionized tremendously and today any information or data is just a click away. The internet has thus made transfer and retrieval of information quiet easy and this has facilitated the way for the introduction of online education.
The term online learning or e-learning refers to the process by which knowledge is imparted by a group of experienced tutors to interested students over the internet by means of interaction via emails, chats and blogs and various other software devices. In case of online education, several reputed universities and educational institutions of the world have introduced many of their flagship courses online and in those who undertake to study the course are offered a degree upon the completion of the course. In this way it is possible for various individuals who have access to a computer to gain the opportunity to study under reputed educational institutions.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the premier institutions in the world and its fame is widespread all over the world and meritorious students from different parts of the world dream of being a part of its prestigious alumni. The OpenCourseWare is an initiative introduced by MIT in their bid to make available the various course materials of its undergraduate and post-graduate courses online for free to interested candidates. It is doubtless that such course materials will be highly in demand among the student community and this institute is considered to be one of the finest in the world. Till November 2007, about 1800 courses have already been made accessible online and it is estimated that towards the end of this year all the course materials will be available. Apart from MIT, this ambition was financially aided by Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
It was in the year 1999 that this idea had dawned in the minds of the schools associated with MIT that it should make some sort of contribution to online learning and hence it was determined that its course materials should be made accessible online. The MIT OpenCourseWare enterprises of various interactive and collaborative demonstrations in Java apart from providing video lectures by professors of the institute. Most of the course materials provide analytical problems and examinations often provided with solutions.