clifford stephens
Accounting, Finance
Material Type:
Full Course
College / Upper Division
  • Bonds
  • Business
  • Capital Asset Pricing Model
  • Finance
  • Financial Analysis
  • LOUIS Peer Review
  • Stocks
  • louis-peer-review
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Video

    Education Standards

    Finance Theory I Course Review


    This a review of the Finance Theroy I by Andrew Lo, M.I.T. OpenCourseWare

    This review was completed by Clifford Stephens, Ph.D., Department of Finance, Louisiana State University.


    The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary.

    Finance Theory I by M.I.T. OpenCourseWare is a full introductory graduate finance course.  However, the course is designed for graduate students and is not appropriately aligned to CFIN 3113 for undergraduate students.  Further, although the course videos are licensed under Creative Commons, the required textbook and readings are not open educational resources.

    The required textbook, Principles of Corporate Finance by Brealey, Myers and Allen is an excellent textbook, but is published by McGraw Hill and is neither OER  nor CC.

    The course itself consists of a series of lectures by Professor Andrew Lo of M.I.T. during his Fall 2008 Finance Theory I class for MBAs.  The video lectures are generally well-done, but long – averaging about 80 minutes in length.

    The videos and other course materials provide comprehensive coverage of what would be expected in a first corporate finance class for graduate students, but is taught at a level not appropriate for most undergraduate students.

    I will keep the remainder of my review focused on the course videos and other CC commons material provided for the course.

    Content Accuracy

    Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased.

    Dr. Andrew Lo is one of the most respected professors in Finance.  The content appears to be accurate and is unbiased.  Since these are videos of a class with students, sensitive issues can arise, but I did not notice anything controversial.

    Relevance Longevity

    Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement.

    Although the examples used in the course and videos were recent at the time, this course was delivered at M.I.T. in the Fall of 2008 and consequently many of the real-world examples used in the videos are dated and may even be unfamiliar to students who were likely toddlers at the time.

    However, finance theory and applications do not change rapidly, at least at the basic level. Consequently, the content is relevant and will remain so for a long time. 


    The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used.

    Professor Lo’s lectures are easy to follow; he uses clear language with minimal technical terminology during the lectures.  However, the course is designed for graduate students and is taught at a high level.  Additionally, the videos are long and at times boring; most undergraduate students would likely have a hard time maintaining interest and focus.


    The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.

    The terminology, notation and formula presentation are consistent throughout the course, but the terminology is at a graduate level.


    The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

    The material is broken into lectures in a logical way, but the video lectures are long and it would be difficult to splice out particular topics from within a lecture.  The individual lectures and even course as a whole are not easily divided or re-organized.

    Organization Structure Flow

    The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion.

    The course well-organized and progresses in a reasonable fashion.  Each lecture builds in a logical way on the previous. However, the course is designed for M.I.T. graduate students and they are expected to read (a lot) outside of class; consequently, without reading the textbook and other non-OER and non-CC material it may be difficult for students to follow.


    The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader.

    The interface consists of a website with links to lecture videos and ancillary material.  The course is easy to navigate, but the lecture videos do not stream and must to be downloaded.  The videos are recordings of actual class meetings and consequently can contain some distractions, but are generally of high quality, well-produced and easy to follow.

    Grammatical Errors

    The text contains no grammatical errors.

    I did not notice any grammatical or spelling errors in the written ancillary material nor did I notice any glaring grammatical errors in the lecture videos.

    Cultural Relevance

    The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

    The lecture videos are dated and many of the examples may have little relevance to the students.  I noticed nothing in the material than students would find insensitive or inappropriate, but there also appears to be little effort made to provide inclusive examples.  However, the videos are of an actual class and the class itself is quite diverse.