Open Education: A Progress Reportby greenspacewriter 02/20/2012
As many of you may have noted, shortly after the publication of our December 6th blog post about open education, MIT announced that they would be launching MITx, a free online platform for higher education. At first glance, it may be unclear as to how this system differs from Stanford’s “Machine Learning” or even from MIT’s pre-existent OpenCourseWare (OCW) database.
First off, every course on MITx will include all necessary online tools and greater interactive features - also free of charge - in order to allow a more complete and enriching virtual learning experience.
While a good percentage of courses available on MIT’s OpenCourseWare system include free supplementary and interactive tools, the vast majority do not offer all readings, lecture notes, and exams. In other words, the information available on OCW often makes for an incomplete learning experience. Although the courses on MITx will be more limited, especially in its earlier stages, each and every class will provide the information and materials that one would expect from a college course.
Still, what makes MITx progressive amongst open education initiatives is the opportunity it will offer users to earn certification. Once there are a greater number of courses available on MITx, it will be possible to receive a certificate of mastery from MIT in one’s chosen coursework.
Although certification will not be totally free and requires proof of sufficient knowledge of the materials in question, MIT has stated that the fee will be an affordable one, unlike the majority of continuing education courses, especially those offered at top tier colleges and universities.
Currently, MITx, found at http://mitx.mit.edu/ is in, a trial period and is offering one course, “Circuits and Electronics,” this spring. The system is set to be launched officially for fall 2012 and will add a number of courses and materials.
Depending on the success of MITx, this non-profit division of MIT could set the stage for many high caliber institutions to establish similar online learning systems. With the launch of MITx, advancements in Stanford’s “Machine Learning,” and the growing number of class series available on iTunesU, it seems that 2012 will be a formative year for the open education movement.