Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Will Knight

A View from Will Knight

Harvard and MIT Offer Online Education for Free

The joint venture builds on an existing MIT platform that serves 120,000 students worldwide.

  • May 2, 2012

Harvard has joined with MIT to deliver courses over the Internet, for free, to anyone in the world. The new joint venture, called edx, builds upon MIT’s existing online learning platform, MITx, which already runs a handful of courses, including Circuits and Electronics, for around 120,000 students worldwide. 

The courses offered through edx will incorporate video lessons, online quizzes, and real-time feedback. Students will receive a certificates of mastery for their efforts. In recent years, there has been a massive groundswell in online learning—enabled by high-speed Internet connections, ubiquitous computers, and back-end technology like cloud computing. Edx is just the latest—and most prestigious—endorsement of that phenomenon.

It’s interesting to see technology being used to make teaching more efficient. But platforms like edx could also help institutions such as MIT and Harvard identify and nurture the smartest students from anywhere in the world. 

Anant Agrawal, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and leader of the development of MITx, says edx will also involve researching new ways of automating the learning process—including machine-learning to grade written papers. He adds that such a massive interactive learning platform will offer a chance to run completely new kinds of experiments, and explore how people learn and improve that process. The research will feed into the courses offered on campus at MIT and Harvard as well as those offered through edx.

When asked who the leader of the online interactive learning trend is, Agrawal singled out Salman Khan, the MIT and Harvard grad who started out tutoring his cousins via YouTube, and went on to create the online learning platform Khan Academy.

The AI revolution is here. Will you lead or follow?
Join us at EmTech Digital 2019.

Register now
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.