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Culture & Religion

MIT to Offer Free Online Education

In the spring of next year, MIT will begin offering some of its courses online, for free. Degrees will not be awarded but certificates will be given to students who successfully master the lessons.

What’s the Latest Development?

Working toward a spring 2012 deadline, MIT is making plans to offer its courses online to anyone in the world, for free. The online learning initiative, dubbed MITx, will not allow students to earn an MIT degree but those who demonstrate a mastery of the material will receive a certificate of completion. “Students using the program will be able to communicate with their peers through student-to-student discussions, allowing them an opportunity to ask questions or simply brainstorm with others.”

What’s the Big Idea?

MITx is the next step in free online education, which gives students the opportunity to interact with one another rather than simply watch a videotaped lecture. Once the program goes live, other institutions interested in expanding their online course offerings can be expected to follow suit: “Creating an open learning infrastructure will enable other communities of developers to contribute to it, thereby making it self-sustaining,” said an MIT press release.

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