Matheus is an edupunk who uses open educational resources to supplement his learning in a conventional college setting. He’s 20 years old and came to America from Brazil when he was 10. While he had always earned top grades, his immigration status makes him ineligible for federal financial aid like Pell Grants and student loans. He’s fallen into a bit of a gray area. “I couldn’t enroll as an international student because I didn’t have a student visa, and I couldn’t enroll as a permanent student because I didn’t have a green card. It’s frustrating!” He’s enrolled at Bristol Community College near his home in Massachusetts, taking nondegree courses and paying out of pocket while he tries to straighten things out. Open courseware has helped this bright student stave off frustration. “I have a calculus class at BCC that I attend only to mark attendance, but I can’t understand anything the professor is saying [because English is not the teacher’s first language]. So I go home and open the MIT calculus course, do homework and go back to class just so I’m not withdrawn for absence.” In his study of computer science, Matheus takes a novel approach. “Harvard has a professor named David Malan who runs their introductory computer science course. Harvard is not a member of the Open Courseware Consortium, but Malan puts all of his courses online himself.” Matheus has watched all of Malan’s online courses. Then he even started taking Malan’s class in person at Harvard Extension School, which offers noncredit evening courses for adults. Often he’ll watch one of Malan’s lectures on the train on the way to Malan’s course, as a way to review before class. He says doing a computer science course online is “pretty handy.” “The professors write their code a lot faster than you can, but they still want you to go along with them, so it’s good to be able to pause it, finish writing it and then keep going."
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