One week of classes is now complete so I figure it's about time to put up my first impressions of what I'm taking.
The first sort of general impression is that after a pretty busy summer semester I'm not really ready for things to be picking back up for the fall yet. I realized on Thursday that I've been a bit lax ingetting together groups for classes this semester and this also put off starting on some assignments. The first of which are all due this week. But got that under control and have spent some time this weekend to get back on track and will hopefully be done doing so with some concerted effort today. As for the specific classes I'm taking three for credit – two of the required and core classes for the SDM program and one elective
The first of the required classes is Systems Program Management. The course, as with a number of the ESD courses is taught by a few faculty members. Overall it looks like it should be okay and the professors definitely seem to be good. My one complaint thus far is that there is a non trivial amount of repeating, albeit at a less in-depth level, of the materials presented in System Dynamics. If it is seen as important enough to be covered either the course should be required or the sequencing adjusted a bit so that the intro material gets covered in SPM and then the SD class could spend more time on deeper aspects of the material.
The second of the required classes I'm taking is System Architecture. Crawley seems a bit less antagonistic than in January, at least thus far. And an attempt is being made to help make this more relevant to software — we'll see how it goes.
The elective I'm taking is the Sloan Business Law course (15.616). I'm actually enjoying this quite a bit and think that it's going to be a very useful course. We're starting out with a bit of whirldwind tour through some of the basics of tort law, some regulation and criminal law, and contracts. Then, a vast majority of the rest of the course is taken up by guest lectures from practicing experts in a variety of legal fields. The readings have thus far been relevant and a reasonable length. And the professor is also very engaged and clearly wants to help drive some understanding of the material.
In addition to those three, I'm intending to be a listener (MIT-speak for auditing) for the new Software Systems Engineering course which is being run as a trial this fall. The big picture overview of the class made it seem like there's an attempt being made to bring in a lot of the big system-specific pieces for the software world. It should at the very least be interesting to give some feedback on the various pieces and hopefully help make the SDM program a bit better for software people in future years.