MITx Free E-Courses Will Offer Certificates – But Not from MIT

January 2, 2012

5:30 pm

Starting this spring, MIT will begin offering online courses to anyone, anywhere, for free – and this time, students can receive a certificate of completion.

The platform, dubbed MITx, will include online labs, communication with other students, and individual assessment. But MIT is making sure to distinguish MITx from its traditional degree programs. The university will issue certificates for a “modest fee,” but not bearing the MIT name.

MIT plans to create a not-for-profit body within the Institute that will offer certification for online learners of MIT coursework. That body will carry a distinct name to avoid confusion.

The Chronicle of Higher Education also has some insight on how courses could be graded:

MIT faculty members have…developed technology that can automatically grade essays. Other technologies that could come into play here include automatic transcription, online tutors, and crowdsourced grading.

On-campus MIT students could see tools from MITx in their classrooms in the future, if they prove effective. And so could other students: MITx is built on open-source software that will eventually be available to all schools.

MITx continues the university’s work in democratizing education with OpenCourseWare, a 10-year-old free platform with MIT course videos that has attracted over 100 million viewers. OpenCourseWare will continue.

MITx will start out in beta, with a limited selection of courses.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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