MIT has opened enrollment for the first of the new MIT.x courses, “Circuits and Electronics.” The course is free, and in this first pilot instance, even the certificate gained for completing the course successfully will be free (MIT expects to start charging for those some time soon).
6.002x (Circuits and Electronics) is designed to serve as a first course in an undergraduate electrical engineering (EE), or electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) curriculum. At MIT, 6.002 is in the core of department subjects required for all undergraduates in EECS.
The course introduces engineering in the context of the lumped circuit abstraction. Topics covered include: resistive elements and networks; independent and dependent sources; switches and MOS transistors; digital abstraction; amplifiers; energy storage elements; dynamics of first- and second-order networks; design in the time and frequency domains; and analog and digital circuits and applications. Design and lab exercises are also significant components of the course. You should expect to spend approximately 10 hours per week on the course.
“Great!” I thought. “I can do that! I will try it! Sounds like a fascinating subject, and way back in high school I did think that I might become an engineer. And it will give me a chance to try out and blog about the new MIT.x platform.”
In order to succeed in this course, you must have taken an AP level physics course in electricity and magnetism. You must know basic calculus and linear algebra and have some background in differential equations. Since more advanced mathematics will not show up until the second half of the course, the first half of the course will include an optional remedial differential equations component for those who need it.
That rules me out, I’m afraid! For about six different reasons. And, I think, it should rule out some of the complaints/skepticism about these courses. We can (we should, we will) make learning more open and more accessible. But in some very important ways, there really aren’t any shortcuts. Engineering is engineering, and it can be open to everyone…but it’s still engineering, and without the physics and the math, it just isn’t going to be understandable.
Still, I hope someone reading this who does have those basic qualifications will give it a try and blog about the experience! You can enroll here 6002x.mitx.mit.edu.