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MIT OpenCourseWare - Free College Courses Online

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Ever wanted to audit a college course online, without having to pay for it? With MIT OpenCourseWare, you can access 1,550 courses on topics ranging from History to Physics and Women's Studies. (Seriously, there's a ton of content here.) It's all free, and it's all available right now -- all you have to do is make time to do the work.

A typical courses includes the basics: a Syllabus, Calendar, Readings, Lecture Notes, Assignments, and Projects. There's even a "Download This Course" link which allows you to take the entire course web site (including all the downloadable files, like readings) with you on the go. Some courses include audio and video content if the PDFs and text aren't doing it for you.

The entire MIT OpenCourseWare system is available free, without even requiring users to register. The amount of content available is staggering, and after nearly six years, the program continues to expand (read the five-year anniversary press release from last April). MIT offers some interesting statistics about the program, for example: "61% of OCW traffic is non-US; East Asia-22%, Western Europe-15%, South Asia-6%, Latin America-5%, other regions-13%"

To get started with MIT OCW, visit the home page, check out the course list, and pick something you like. To learn more about the program and who has used it, read this 2003 Wired article or consult the press coverage archive. If you have used MIT OCW, let us know about it in the comments!

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Tulane University Offers Free Semester to Students Affected by Hurricane Maria
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As Puerto Rico continues to assess the damage left by Hurricane Maria last month, one American institution is offering displaced residents some long-term hope. Tulane University in New Orleans is waiving next semester’s tuition fees for students enrolled at Puerto Rican colleges prior to the storm, Forbes reports.

From now until November 1, students whose studies were disrupted by Maria can apply for one of the limited spots still open for Tulane’s spring semester. And while guests won’t be required to pay Tulane's fees, they will still be asked to pay tuition to their home universities as Puerto Rico rebuilds. Students from other islands recovering from this year’s hurricane season, like St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are also welcome to submit applications.

Tulane knows all too well the importance of community support in the wake of disaster. The campus was closed for all of the 2005 fall semester as New Orleans dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During that time, schools around the world opened their doors to Tulane students who were displaced. The university wrote in a blog post, “It’s now our turn to pay it forward and assist students in need.”

Students looking to study as guests at Tulane this spring can fill out this form to apply.

[h/t Forbes]

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Pablo, a Groundbreaking New BBC Series, Teaches Kids About Autism
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BBC

Autism spectrum disorder affects one in 68 kids in the U.S., but there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the nature of the condition and what it feels like to have it. As BuzzFeed reports, a new British children’s program aims to teach viewers about autism while showing kids on the spectrum characters and stories to which they can relate.

Pablo, which premiered on the BBC’s kids’ network CBeebies earlier this month, follows a 5-year-old boy as he navigates life with autism. The show uses two mediums: At the start of an episode, Pablo is played by a live actor and faces everyday scenarios, like feeling overstimulated by a noisy birthday party. When he’s working out the conflict in his head, Pablo is depicted as an animated doodle accompanied by animal friends like Noa the dinosaur and Llama the llama.

Each character illustrates a different facet of autism spectrum disorder: Noa loves problem-solving but has trouble reading facial expression, while Llama notices small details and likes repeating words she hears. On top of demonstrating the diversity of autism onscreen, the show depends on individuals with autism behind the scenes as well. Writers with autism contribute to the scripts and all of the characters are voiced by people with autism.

“It’s more than television,” the show’s creator Gráinne McGuinness said in a short documentary about the series. “It’s a movement that seeks to build awareness internationally about what it might be like to see the world from the perspective of someone with autism.”

Pablo can be watched in the UK on CBeebies or globally on the network's website.

[h/t BuzzFeed]

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