MIT’s initiative to promote online learning

Lending a new dimension to online learning, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has launched MITx, under which selection of its courses will be offered through an online interactive learning platform.
And it encourages students worldwide to take part in the initiative.
MITx course materials are meant to foster learning at an individual pace. It features interactivity, online laboratories and student-to-student communication. MIT officials believe this will help to enhance the learning of their on-campus students as well, supplementing their classroom experience.
The first course on ‘Circuits and Electronics’ is already online. Interested learners may start signing up (http://mitx.mit.edu/).
Starting March 5, the course will run through June 8. Modelled on the MIT’s 6.002 — an introductory course for undergraduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), 6.002x will introduce engineering in the context of lumped circuit abstraction, helping students make the transition from physics to electrical engineering and computer science. It will be taught by Anant Agarwal, EECS professor and director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and Chris Terman, CSAIL co-director, with other experts.
The electronics course does not have any entrance requirement or fee.
MIT learning materials are already available for free in the public domain in the form of OpenCourseWare. But this course is audited, with a certificate to be issued from the MIT on successful completion.
“Today, as computation and Internet technologies facilitate higher education to migrate online, the MIT sees the opportunity to democratise education with unprecedented efficiency and scalability. We possess a strong desire and feel a compelling obligation to offer a not-for-profit, mission-driven, open-technology approach to online learning. MITx is our contribution,” says the MITx website.
And MITx open learning software will be made available free of cost, the institution has said. This is to encourage other universities or educational institutions to boost their online education offerings.
“Creating an open learning infrastructure will enable other communities of developers to contribute to it, thereby making it self-sustaining,” says Mr Agarwal, who is leading the development of the open platform.
An MIT release quoted him as saying: “An open infrastructure will facilitate research on learning technologies and also enable learning content to be easily portable to other educational platforms that will develop. In this way, the infrastructure will improve continuously as it is used and adapted.”

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