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Sunday, January 22, 2012

New MIT online initiative


You may have already seen this morning that MIT announced the initiation of a new interactive online learning program, internally called MITx, which will seek to build a virtual community of online learners and allow them to earn certificates for demonstrating mastery of MITx subjects at modest cost. MITx will also serve as a cornerstone of MIT's research into digitally supported teaching and learning. For this initiative, the Institute will develop new online materials to support MITx users, including MIT students. Everything on MITx short of credentialing will be free of charge, and MITx will be built using open-source software made freely available to the world.

MIT OpenCourseWare will continue to be MIT's free and open effort to share the curriculum used at MIT, and the Institute remains fully invested in the program. OCW will publish MIT course materials for free, as we always have, and continue to explore the possibilities of free, open education. OCW will also be enriched by the materials created for MITx programs, which will be shared openly on the OCW site.

We realize there is the potential for confusion regarding these two programs, but the differences are very straightforward.

MITx includes:

  • a limited number of subjects specifically designed to support the MITx learner
  • development of a custom online learning platform
  • interactivity with other students and the MIT community
  • MITx certificates for demonstrated mastery of subject matter at modest cost to users
  • a significant online learning research effort.

OCW remains:

  • a publication of MIT course materials
  • a broad compilation of materials from across MIT programs and departments
  • an offering of content without certification or access to MIT faculty or students
  • free and open to the world.

We are thrilled to support the MIT community in taking the new step into online learning that MITx represents, and look forward to the innovative content that program will bring to the OCW site. At the same time, we want to assure our many supporters around the world that this announcement strengthens MIT's commitment to OCW and its mission to provide free and open resources to improve teaching and learning worldwide, and that we are here to stay.


Cecilia d'Oliveira
Executive Director
MIT OpenCourseWare

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