In 2012 Harvard and MIT launched edX, a not-for-profit venture to deliver high-quality online learning opportunities to anyone with an Internet connection. MIT’s goals include expanding access to quality educational opportunities worldwide, enhancing on-campus education, and advancing understanding of teaching and learning through research. MIT’s effort to achieve these goals is known as MITx. MIT’s online courses delivered globally through edX are referred to as MITx on edX. The world refers to these courses as MOOCs — massive, open, online courses.
Along with our partners, we are pursuing this broad experiment in online learning because we know that its results will have far-reaching impact.”
– President Rafael Reif
Expanding access to education worldwide
MIT faculty launched their initial MITx on edX courses in 2012. Learners who enroll in these free, online, open-enrollment courses gain access to a variety of course materials, submit homework at specified times, receive automated feedback on their work, interact with each other and instructors in discussion forums, and in some courses, use interactive tools that deepen their learning. Those who complete a course with a passing grade have the opportunity to earn a certificate of achievement.
As of Spring 2015, MIT faculty have developed and launched 46 MITx on edX courses, and many courses have been offered multiple times. These courses expand access to high-quality educational opportunities for learners around the world, and also enable MIT faculty to greatly extend their educational impact. More than 1 million individuals from 195 countries have registered for MITx on edX courses, some for multiple courses, totaling over 2 million enrollments. Many worldwide learners are professionals with degrees, some are students, and a surprising number (one in four) identify as teachers.
See, for example, this testimonial by two teachers from Florida who used the MITx on edX course 7.00x Secret of Life in their high school teaching:
Enhancing on-campus education
MIT faculty typically design their MITx on edX global course to match the rigor of the equivalent MIT on-campus course. This enables them to explore the potential for online learning in the context of an actual MIT course, and to identify innovations that will enhance and even transform the on-campus experience. For example, MIT faculty have found that aspects of their MITx on edX course — such as instant feedback on pre-class work, video lectures with interactive exercises, and auto-graded homework — benefit their MIT students when integrated into an on-campus course, using the Residential MITx platform, which is based on open edX. MIT faculty have used what they learned in developing and delivering an MITx on edX course to completely transform their on-campus teaching practices.
For more information, see how MITx is enhancing on-campus education.
Advancing understanding of teaching and learning through research
Data collected from MITx on edX courses is allowing faculty and researchers to conduct experiments in teaching and learning with large numbers of online students. This data is enabling researchers to explore such diverse questions as how learners use online video, how often specific online materials are used, the impact-of-use patterns with student success and/or completion, and even how well students learn in online courses. For example, MIT Professor David Pritchard used before and after testing in his MITx on edX course to determine whether students learn better in the classroom or in the MOOC. He showed that students in his online class, even those who were least prepared, learned as well as students in a traditional lecture-based course. See Learning in an Introductory Physics MOOC: All Cohorts Learn Equally, Including an On-Campus Class.
For more information, see how MITx is advancing research.
EdX and the edX Consortium
EdX, the non-profit online initiative created by Harvard and MIT in 2012, offers a growing number of interactive high-quality online courses and modules from many of the world’s best universities, colleges, businesses, and NGOs. EdX, the software platform, is the interactive teaching and learning platform that edX uses for online course development and delivery. In Spring 2015, over 300 courses were available on edX from the 65 member organizations in the edX Consortium.
The help you need to make an MITx on edX course or module
Developing and teaching an MITx on edX course or module for the first time can be exciting yet daunting. The Office of Digital Learning provides the experience, tools, training and support needed to plan, design, create, and deliver successful MITx on edX offerings. Our office includes educational technologists, instructional design experts, video production specialists, intellectual property experts, digital learning specialists, and project managers. We collaborate with faculty and academic staff to create high-quality digital learning experiences — and make these available to a worldwide audience.
Interested in creating and teaching an MITx on edX course or module?
The Office of Digital Learning is launching a new proposal process in Spring 2015 for faculty and departments interested in creating an MITx on edX course or module. The process begins with a short Statement of Interest, submitted on a rolling basis. The Statement of Interest must include a letter of support from the faculty member’s academic department that indicates how the proposal fits within the department’s digital learning strategy. If the proposed project fits within the goals of ODL, the faculty member will then work with the MITx team to discuss the proposal and the work required before submitting a complete proposal (with budget) by May 31, 2015. Proposals will be reviewed by the MITx Faculty Advisory Committee. Decisions will be announced July 1, 2015 for work to begin in September.