The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the leading universities in the world, offers free online courses that can provide ecommerce business owners and managers with MBA-quality course material.
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) provides open access to the MIT faculty’s course materials—yes, the very materials used for teaching almost all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate subjects. Lessons are free of charge to any motivated user anywhere in the world, making the service perhaps the largest web-based publication of educational materials.
Among the more than 1,800 available courses are many from MIT’s prestigious Sloan School of Management, providing a rich learning opportunity for people who want to hone their business management skills. While MIT’s OCW does not award diplomas or certificates, it does provide a rich resource, which is I why I chose it for this week’s review.
“The PeC Review” is my weekly analysis of products or services that could help an online merchant improve his or her business. My goal is to identify and then rate these products or services, and to provide good decision-making information. This week, I am awarding MIT’s OpenCourseWare four out five stars for providing world-class educational resources for free.
Video: A Brief Look at MIT’s OpenCourseWare
MIT Courses for Free, Really?
OCW is not a substitute for a regular college education, but this free service does provide a “self-learner,” such as an ecommerce business owner, the opportunity to review basic business and marketing concepts from an academic standpoint, prepare for future course work (perhaps in pursuit of an advanced degree), or even complete particular business projects that require new or additional expertise.
More Than 100 Sloan Courses
MIT’s OCW includes materials from more than 100 Sloan School of Management courses. Many of these could be valuable to ecommerce business owners and managers. Some of the most interesting courses include:
- Developmental Entrepreneurship
This class includes lecture notes and student projects that provide case study information about the challenges and opportunities faced by developmental entrepreneurs.
- Entrepreneurial Marketing This class looks at major themes in marketing, including identifying a target audience and discussing challenges that are unique for entrepreneurs.
- Marketing Strategy This course, which is aimed at helping students identify, evaluate, and develop marketing strategies, includes lecture notes from when the class was taught in 2003, and downloadable course assignments.
- Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager This class provides a basic understanding of legal issues that may concern business owners and managers.
OCW also offers a number of technology courses that may be helpful for ecommerce merchants. As an example, the technology courses include basic computer programming that could help the do-it-yourselfer develop basic computer-coding skills.
Not Necessarily Complete
MIT spends as much as $10,000 per course to make the OCW materials available on the Internet. And, although the institution does ask for donations to its OCW project, it does not charge anything for these educational resources. So, we should not complain when we find that OCW classes usually require some additional software or textbooks to get the most from the lecture notes, outlines, and assignments.
The typical OCW class will include a list of suggested textbooks that the willing self-learner can purchase that follow the class syllabus and supplement the other materials provided.
MIT’s OpenCourseWare provides excellent online education resources that can help an ecommerce business owner or manager improve their skills, bone up for particular projects, or prepare for advanced degrees.