MIT and the future of open-source education

MIT has long offered thousands of undergrad and graduate level course materials for free online. This month, they announced plans to significantly update and expand that effort, creating an open-source education system called MITx that will basically allow anyone to virtually take an MIT class, participate in laboratories, and get individual assessment on whether or not they've learned the material. The school even has plans—not fully worked out yet—to offer some kind of certificate of completion to people who take classes this way and can show that they've mastered the subject. MITx will open in spring of 2012. I'm looking forward to checking out this great resource! (Thanks to Chris Hayden!)


    1. I think you’re confusing this with Stanford’s classes, which had three classes last term and 16 this time. I can heartily recommend the Machine Learning class for people who have a good grasp of programming, don’t mind learning Matlab/Octave and have an interest in the topic from my experience last term.

      For free online courses starting in a few weeks, look to Stanford and the bottom of

  1. Neither the course materials nor the presentations are actually open source, by the way.  They are free online for non-commercial use only — derivative works are permitted, but they must be non-commercial too.

    It’s nice that they’re making the “learning platform” software itself open source, of course.  But that’s distinct from the content, which apparently will remain non-open-source.

    FWIW, I think it would be a much better move both for MIT and for the rest of us if they went all the way and made OCW open source.  I suspect the blocker is the professors, who often have textbook contracts of the standard publishing industry variety, rather than the school itself.  Would love it if someone with real investigative journalism chops looked into that hypothesis, though :-).

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