Open signThe internet’s been abuzz with news of MITx, hailed as an exciting chapter in the Open Educational Resources movement. Students, if you’re not too familiar with online learning and the free resources available to you even if you haven’t enrolled in a class, you may find it interesting to read on.

First, there were MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s) hugely popular OpenCourseWare materials, which, according to their website, have been used by over 100 million people in the last 10 years. MIT OCW offers a wealth of learning materials in subjects across the curriculum, and for all DIY learners, especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects, this is a treasure. High school students and teachers, by the way, might find particularly useful the OCW Highlights for High School.

The new MITx differs from OCW in that it will offer actual classes for completion. Unlike classes that count toward a degree, these classes will require neither cost nor prerequisites. They will, however, offer students the option of obtaining credentials (for a fee) upon proving mastery in the subjects.

Certainly, these online offerings are exciting learning opportunities no matter what; to quote Benjamin Franklin, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.” While it remains to be seen how employers and other universities might accept such credentials, MITx will be fun to watch.

Image via mrg. bz / kevinrosseel

Further reading
“MIT Mints a Valuable New Form of Academic Currency,” Commentary by Kevin Carey, The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“MIT Will Offer Certificates to Outside Students Who Take Its Online Courses,”
Marc Parry, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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