a new access to learningIn December 2011 MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) launched a new online learning initiative called MITx.
MITx will offer a portfolio of MIT courses through an online interactive learning platform that will:
- organize and present course material to enable students to learn at their own pace;
- feature interactivity, online laboratories and student-to-student communication;
- allow for the individual assessment of any student’s work and allow students who demonstrate their mastery of subjects to earn a certificate of completion awarded by MITx;
- operate on an open-source, scalable software infrastructure in order to make it continuously improving and readily available to other educational institutions.
MIT President Susan Hockfield said, "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."
MIT plans to launch an experimental prototype version of MITx in the spring 2012 timeframe. Once the open learning infrastructure is in stable form, MIT will also release the open-source software infrastructure and will establish ways for other universities, as well as interested individuals, to join MIT in improving and adding features to the technology.
All of the teaching on the platform will be free of charge. Those who have the ability and motivation to demonstrate mastery of content can receive a credential for a modest fee.
As online learning and assessment evolve and improve, online learners who demonstrate mastery of subjects could earn a certificate of completion, but any such credential would not be issued under the name MIT. Rather, MIT plans to create a not-for-profit body within the Institute that will offer certification for online learners of MIT coursework. That body will carry a distinct name to avoid confusion.