miércoles, 23 de enero de 2013

What's next? (I)

Today Wednesday January 23, Salvadoran 6.002x-ers had a meeting. I called them for having a kind of graduation picture. But almost spontaneously came out a need to talk about what we had achieved. Also the question What's next? came to the table. We discussed several proposals. I will mention just two of them; which require to add no new bureaucracy. One proposal was to ask our department a MOOC course as a four credit elective course. Electrical Engineering Students are required to take eight elective four credit courses. Because the department has only 12 full time professors and 2 part-timers, elective course list is very short.
 The other proposal was to use a mandatory course which was originally designed to do small research. The course has to be taken in the last year, as a research course under a professor supervision. A carefully chosen MOOC course could be replaced instead. The course could help to carry on later an undergraduate Thesis. 

I do not know if any of this two proposals will materialize. But I got the feeling we had achieved something we did not have before. We had expanded our vision of the world. I can not image myself, twenty years ago, when I was an engineering student, having this kind of conversation. MIT, Harvard, Berkeley was foreign to us. The only american college images I could think of were the ones portrayed by cheap Hollywood movies (Porky's, Revenge of the Nerds and so on).

Picture courtesy of Ovidio Medrano.
I can not help avoid to say something about some students who felt cheated by our system. They managed to succeed in 6.002x but fail our basic circuit analysis and analog electronic courses.

After our little brainstorming we decided to take the pictures. Below I was portrayed with a very clever teenager.  Roossenberth, a sixteen years old boy, took the course. He approved 6.002x and, following my advice, he will take it again. But this time he will arm himself with a calculus course, served by coursera.

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