MIT – a good source for academic English



MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology – a leading American university, has just introduced a new resource that will help students who want to improve their academic English.

Academic language development

Language development happens when you read or listen to language that you understand. So it should not be surprising to learn that academic language development happens when you read or listen to academic language that you can understand.

One of the best ways to make academic language understandable is to read or listen to academic content you are already familiar with. For example, if you studied introductory physics in your own language, what you already know about physics will help you understand an introductory physics class in English. If you listen to English physics lectures or read English articles related to introductory physics, and understand them, you will automatically pick up, or acquire, new academic English.

If you want more details about using this strategy, read the Related Reading articles listed at the end of this article.

MIT’s OCW Scholar

MIT has introduced a new series of courses – in a program called OCW (OpenCourseWare) Scholar – that makes this strategy even more attractive. Five courses are already available and more will be added in the months ahead. The OCW Scholar courses, which are free, are being created so people can study and learn from a leading university without going to the university.

You can’t earn academic credit by completing an OCW Scholar class, but the university provides everything you’ll need to complete each course and learn from it. For example, the Physics 1 class includes:

  • a set of video lectures from popular MIT physics professor Walter Lewin
  • a set of course notes
  • a set of class slides (PowerPoint)
  • homework problems
  • homework help videos by Dr. Lewin to help learners solve the homework problems
  • links to related materials on the Internet
  • an online study group – called OpenStudy – where you can connect with other independent learners.

MIT OCW plans to publish 20 OCW Scholar courses over the next three years – introductory college-level courses in science, math, engineering, and other subject areas. The five courses that have been released include Physics I and II, Calculus I and II, and Introduction to Solid State Chemistry.

If you want to be informed about new classes when they are released, subscribe to the OCW Scholar RSS feed.

Don’t walk, run!

It is impossible to over-emphasize the value of resources like this and those described in the articles below for academic language development. If you hope to study in a university where classes are taught in English, you should begin to take advantage of them as soon as possible.

Warren Ediger

Related Reading: Prepare for the TOEFL at iTunes U; Better English for medical – and other – students and professionalsHow to learn something (including academic English) for nothing.

Reference: New MIT OpenCourseWare Initiative Aims to Improve Independent Online Learning (NY Times).

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