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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Spring Classes Online by Matt McGann '00

(...and a bit about a fall class, too.)

The MIT Spring Term subject listings have been posted to the web. Check them out! Here are a few highlights:

2.007: Design and Manufacturing I
Prof. Alex Slocum
Develops students’ competence and self-confidence as design engineers. Emphasis on the creative design process bolstered by application of physical laws, and learning to complete projects on schedule and within budget. Synthesis, analysis, design robustness and manufacturability are emphasized. Subject relies on active learning via a major design-and-build project. Lecture topics include idea generation, estimation, concept selection, visual thinking and communication, kinematics of mechanisms, machine elements, design for manufacturing, basic electronics, and professional responsibilities and ethics. A required on-line evaluation is given at the beginning and the end of the course so students can assess their design knowledge.
Matt notes: 2.007, a robotics competition class, is perhaps the most famous class at MIT, and Prof. Slocum is one of the best teachers at the Institute.

BE.010J: Introduction to Bioengineering
Prof. Paul Matsudaira, Prof. Angela Belcher, Prof. David Gifford
Basic concepts, tools, and applications in bioengineering and a survey of the bioengineering activities in current engineering disciplines at MIT. Gives students a perspective on the relationship between biology, bioengineering, and biotechnology. Introduces concepts in bioengineering and biology and emphasizes the quantitative and integrative nature of biological and bioengineering problems.
Matt notes: I’m pretty excited about the new major in Biological Engineering. This is a great way to get introduced to the field, with some incredible professors as well.

14.02 Principles of Macroeconomics
Prof. Olivier Blanchard
Provides an overview of macroeconomic issues: the determination of output, employment, unemployment, interest rates, and inflation. Monetary and fiscal policies are discussed. Important current policy debates such as social security, the public debt, and international economic issues are critically explored. Introduces basic models of macroeconomics and illustrates principles with the experience of the US and foreign economies.
Matt notes: 14.02 was one of my favorite classes at MIT. Prof. Blanchard wrote The Book used by this class and classes at many other colleges!

17.42 Causes and Prevention of War
Prof. Stephen Van Evera
Examines the causes of war, with a focus on practical measures to prevent and control war. Topics include: causes and consequences of misperception by nations; military strategy and policy as cause of war; religion and war; US foreign policy as a cause of war and peace; and the likelihood and possible nature of great wars in the future. Historical cases include World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Seven Years’ war, the Arab-Israel conflict, other recent Mideast wars, and the Peloponnesian war.
Matt notes: What can I say? There are few topics as important as this.

Meanwhile, in news about classes not being offered in the spring, this morning I heard a friend of mine, along with four other MIT students, on the radio talking about a fall term class she’s helping to teach. She’s been getting a lot of press for this lately, between the radio show and a Boston Globe article (that was picked up across the world by the Sydney Morning Herald!). Here’s some of what the article said… I think the reasons why the media is so interested will quickly become evident:

Deconstructing Carrie: MIT examines mores of ‘Sex and the City’

This semester, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is giving its best scholarly treatment to a slice of popular culture each Tuesday evening when 24 undergraduates gather to ponder HBO’s “Sex and the City.” […]

Students in the elective class “Sex and the Institute” watch a pair of half-hour episodes, each followed by a half-hour of discussion. It is a serious class, instructors say, examining the show’s unorthodox treatment of issues such as marriage, dating, sex, gender roles, and career and family balance. […]Some students new to the show said they were taken aback by its piquant language and scenes of male and female nudity. Yet for all the show’s titillating subject matter, the class feels like an intellectual undertaking, perhaps Sociology 101 meets Psychology 101. […]

MIT officials said the class was created this year within the women’s studies department as a seminar with six credits. “Seminars are meant to be interesting and topical,” said Myles Crowley, a spokesman for the school. Other seminars this year include: “Enough Time to Fall: Spectacular Failures in Engineering and Other Experiments,” “Photovoltaic Solar Energy Systems,” and “What Is Particle Physics?”

There’s no transcript of the radio interview (with Boston’s local “wacky morning team”), but they asked some fairly standard questions: Have any of you pulled a hack (though the hosts said “prank”)? Is it wierd to be in a place where everyone is brilliant? What’s up with the bird flu? Can you fix my TV? Oy vey!

I should note that I took the idea for this entry from similar ones done by Mitra [07/06/05] and Bryan [08/10/05] for the fall term. Mitra, Bryan, and anyone else: what are some interesting classes you see in the spring term?

8 responses to “Spring Classes Online”

  1. Leon says:

    Design and Manufacturing I sounds fun.

    Here are some other great and interesting classes/seminars I have found:

    18.S34 Mathematical Problem Solving (seminar)

    Note: It is pretty self-explanatory

    16.00 Introduction to Aerospace and Design

    Note: build radio controlled blimps in a competition

    SP.775 Alternative Energy

    SP.769 Photovoltaic Solar Energy Systems

  2. Teck Lee says:

    Design and Manufacturing I sounds very interesting. Principles of Macroeconomics actually interests me a bit, surprisingly, since I’m taking AP Macroeconomics at the moment.

  3. Saad Zaheer says:

    I cant take too many classes next semester because of the freshman credit limit, but even then I am pretty excited about 18.03-differential equations- and 8.04-Quantum Physics I- that Im planning to take.

    now, doesnt that sound nerdy? well, i REALLY am excited even if I have to be called a geek,

  4. Shikhar says:


    my counsellor wants to know whether it is ok for him to take out copies of the reccomendations,Predicted grades and school profile which is written on a letterhead and then sign and stamp them and submit them to MIT. Because printing tons of info on seperate letterheads wont be feesible considering the number of stundets at my large school.

  5. Hey, that’s really neat! I think I’ve read a Blanchard text before…

  6. Adeel khan says:

    Interesting…..very interesting!!

  7. Mushal says:

    wow….they have nerds and geeks at MIT too…cool:)

  8. Bryan says:

    I’m personally looking forward to BE.360, Tissue Engineering for Analysis, Prevention, and Treatment of Human Disease, which will be taught by my UROP advisor, Linda Griffith. I’m also looking forward to 11.003J, Methods of Policy Analysis.