MIT announces MITx - a new Open Source Online Learning Initiative

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December 19, 2011

6.002x MITx's first new online learning class is launched with world open registration.

MIT has launched a new online learning initiative dubbed "MITx." The initiative announced to the MIT community today by MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif, who leads MIT's online learning initiative, and detailed by the MIT News Office in an overview and a set of FAQs will offer a flexible online and open source system for sharing MIT's teaching worldwide while coupling this effort with online learning research.

Through MITx, individuals will be able to participate in interactive, online classes taught by MIT professors, and receive feedback and assessment on their progress. Students who demonstrate mastery of subjects will be able to earn a certificate of completion from MITx.

MIT expects that this learning platform will enhance the educational experience of its on-campus students, offering them online tools that supplement and enrich their classroom and laboratory experiences. MIT also expects that MITx will eventually host a virtual community of millions of learners around the world -- benefiting other universities and educational institutions, such as K-12 school systems, which will have the option to leverage the same software for their online education offerings.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty member Anant Agarwal, director of CSAIL, and lead for the development of the MITx open learning platform, noted: "Creating an open learning infrastructure will enable other communities of developers to contribute to it, thereby making it self-sustaining. An open infrastructure will facilitate research on learning technologies and also enable learning content to be easily portable to other educational platforms that will develop. In this way the infrastructure will improve continuously as it is used and adapted."

Now in its tenth year, MIT's OpenCourseWare, a free online publication of nearly all of its undergraduate and graduate course materials, will continue to be made available. It includes nearly 2,100 MIT courses and has been used by more than 100 million people.

MIT President Susan Hockfield said in the MIT News Office announcement, "MIT has long believed that anyone in the world with the motivation and ability to engage MIT coursework should have the opportunity to attain the best MIT-based educational experience that Internet technology enables. OpenCourseWare’s great success signals high demand for MIT’s course content and propels us to advance beyond making content available. MIT now aspires to develop new approaches to online teaching."

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