MIT’s new online learning initiative is focused on enhancing the educational experience of MIT students and the virtual community of learners throughout the world.
The initiative builds on MIT’s interest in online education which began with OpenCourseWare in 2001. MIT’s faculty have integrated online technologies into the learning experience for MIT students and have also also created a platform to provide free online tools and content to provide new learning opportunities worldwide.
The MITx initiative will offer a portfolio of MIT courses through an online interactive learning platform.
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 states that it will continue to share OCW materials from across the MIT curriculum, free of charge, and that MITx online learning tools will be freely available.
President Hockfield called this “a transformative initiative for MIT and for online learning worldwide. On our residential campus, the heart of MIT, students and faculty are already integrating on-campus and online learning, but the MITx initiative will greatly accelerate that effort. It will also bring new energy to our longstanding effort to educate millions of able learners across the United States and around the world. And in offering an open-source technological platform to other educational institutions everywhere, we hope that teachers and students the world over will together create learning opportunities that break barriers to education everywhere.”
MIT’s online initiative will be a not-for-profit activity consistent with MIT’s mission, but it is expected to generate income from various revenue sources, including fees for certification from learners who demonstrate mastery of course material. Certificates of completion, which are expected to be made available in the future, will 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 entity will carry a distinct name to avoid confusion.
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