MITx - what is it?

Daniel Hastings, Dean 2006-2013

Last month, I blogged on the Stanford experiments in large scale online education. Well now, MIT has announced it's own effort which has the working name "MITx". Through MITx, the Institute will make available some of its curricular materials with embedded assessment and with a worldwide interactive community of learners. This is different from OCW which has no assessment and where the learners do not interact with each ether. If a learner wants certification of what they have learned at MIT, then for a modest fee they can get a credential from MITx. MITx will be established as an open architecture so that other schools can join in if they wish.

This is a bold move for MIT which has attracted considerable attention. It raises many questions that I hope to blog about in the coming months

Frequently asked questions on MITx


Virtually all the courses offered online by other bodies can be categorised as being 'soft'. One justification for this claim is the fact that only the University of London, Harvard University, the University of Washington, and the University of Illinois at Springfield offer degrees in math that are accessible through online study. And of the four, only the University of Washington offers an online degree program in math that caters for the scientific community; the other three have programs that are suited more for the business community and high school teachers.

There is no tertiary level program in math or physics or chemistry, that is offered online, and that has content that is as solid as that of the courses offered on campus by reputable brick and mortar universities. This is also true for computer science.

MITx should therefore take the lead and offer courses in the fundamental sciences--math, physics and chemistry. Furthermore, these courses should be offered not only at the equivalent of the bachelors level, but also at the equivalent of masters and doctorate levels.

I think "MITx" is really ambitious project, and , as you say, very huge move that will make possible interaction and information exchange for a really large community of learners. It is a great convenience, as well. Good luck!

We love the example which MIT has been setting with open source educational projects. Other schools and organizations have been following suit, and this may be just what this country needs to break down the barriers to college education.