Bo Zhao

"OCW helped me solidify my mathematical proficiency and the foundation of college physics. You guys change the way people are educated.”

Bo Zhao
Bo Zhao Bo Zhao

Sarah Sezun | MIT OpenCourseWare

Bo Zhao, a structural engineer living in Beijing, is so pleased with the impact OCW has had on continuing his education, that he has become an annual donor of the program. He says, “It is my pleasure to donate (to) OCW using my earned salary, in which MIT OCW contributes its efforts unparalleled.

Zhao works at ThyssenKrupp’s regional headquarters for China, based in Beijing. With its operational headquarters located in Essen, Germany, ThyssenKrupp is a multi-national conglomerate that produces both industrial materials (such as stainless steel and plastics) and manufactured goods (ranging from elevators to auto parts). As a structural engineer, Zhao analyzes and designs heavy machinery, “ranging from the concept design for bidding, to detailed designs for manufacturing,” he explains.

"What is important in life is that you write the rules and lead the life you really want. OCW is a wonderful ingredient for those people who want to.”

Zhao discovered OCW in 2010 while surfing the Internet to find learning materials for math, physics and engineering. He had graduated in 2006, and wanted to refresh concepts he had learned in college. Among the courses Zhao has studied through OCW are “Linear Algebra” and ”Ordinary Differential Equations”. He enjoyed the approach of “Physics I: Classical Mechanics” very much. “I never thought physics was such a marvelous topic to study … It changes almost everything about physics and math I learned from Chinese textbooks, and the recite-memorize, exam-oriented method of learning executed in China.

Despite being busy with work commitments and his exercise routine, Zhao tries to make time for more OCW courses. He is currently studying Calculus Revisited, which he calls “one of the best math revisited series. I do need a refresher of linear algebra to understand FEM (Finite Element Mechanics).

Zhao plans to continue working as an engineer in the future, and emphasizes the importance of keeping his knowledge current. He says, “The use of science is like speaking a language. I need to learn and re-learn all the time in order to maintain and grow my ‘proficiency’ in science … OCW is an indispensable resource in the process, no matter whenever and wherever you are.

We hope you’ve been inspired by this story and by OCW’s effort to meet the needs of learners eager to enhance their knowledge, lift up their communities, and change the world for the benefit of everyone. Please consider supporting our work with a donation. We’d appreciate it!