Open Courseware initiative by many of the leading universities like Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Berkeley has benefited countless individuals throughout the world. Although many of us like to believe that the usefulness of these courses is nothing more than a side study video bank for our regular courses, there are far-reaching results that these open source lectures and courses can provide us. Recently, an Indian named Ahaan Rungta was able to secure admission in MIT itself after being home schooled with MIT Open CourseWare (OCW) and MITx resources since he was five. This bold initiative to release all academic databases with the public has generated great dividends for people all over the globe who normally don’t have access to quality education and demonstrations.
From an early age, Ahaan showed an exceptional aptitude for Science. He moved from Calcutta, India to Florida in 2001 when he was just two and luckily, MIT took the bold decision of launching Open CourseWare for the general public. Ahaan was home-tutored with the help of this amazing database and acquired both his elementary and secondary education from it. Since he had shown a great aptitude to read since he was three, he could easily browse through all the stuff he found there and began learning high school subjects like Physics and Chemistry when his age fellows were in elementary school. His mother is a proud woman, and she says that the biggest challenge was to keep herself ahead of him and plan more and more lessons for him at home.
Since he was studying from this great resource, he always wondered what the actual campus would look like. This is when he was learning Linear Algebra and had gone through Professor Gil Strang’s 1806 lectures. He knew in his heart that he belonged to the famed institution, and he would do anything to get there. Even as the family moved to Massachusetts, his family realized that a place near MIT was important for their son to achieve his dream and therefore, his father, a chef opened an Indian restaurant nearby and by the age of 12, he was visiting and learning from some of the greatest minds of the different engineering fields.
Luck had always been on Ahaan’s side and now it favored him again as the concept of MITx was launched after he moved to the vicinity of the great institute. He took online courses under Professor Donald Sadoway at first and Michael Cima later on in the next four years. Ever since he has taken an incredible 55 OCW and MITx sets of lectures and even now when he has secured admission here, he continues to use the online experience as a supplementing source.
MIT has been the primary, middle and high school for him and it was befitting of his great insatiable hunger for education that he got to do his college here. His journey is nothing short of remarkable and we hope that MIT continues to educate deserving, talented people from all over the world both via campus courses and online courses in the future.