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MIT launches its first free online course

Posted: 14 Feb 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:online course  learning initiative  prototype course 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has started enrolment for its first free online course which can be studied by students around the world and get a certificate upon completion. The course will be the first prototype of an online learning initiative launched by MIT in December, called MITx.

Starting this week, interested students can enrol for free in the first course—6.002x: Circuits and Electronics—which will begin on March 5 and run through June 8. Students can sign up for the course at

"Modelled after MIT's 6.002—an introductory course for undergraduate students in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS)—6.002x will introduce engineering in the context of the lumped circuit abstraction, helping students make the transition from physics to the fields of electrical engineering and computer science," MIT said.

MITx: an online learning initiative
In December, MIT launched an online project that will allow anyone in the world to take MIT online courses for free, and without any admission process.
 •  MIT to offer online courses for free.

The course will be taught by Anant Agarwal, EECS professor and director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL); Chris Terman, CSAIL co-director; EECS Professor Gerald Sussman; and CSAIL Research Scientist Piotr Mitros.

"We are very excited to begin MITx with this prototype class," said MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif. "We will use this prototype course to optimise the tools we have built by soliciting and acting on feedback from learners."

To access the course, registered students will have to log in at, where they will find a course schedule, an e-textbook for the course, and a discussion board.

Each week, students will watch video lectures and demonstrations, work with practice exercises, complete homework assignments, and participate in an online interactive lab specifically designed "to replicate its real-world counterpart."

Students will also take exams and be able to check their grades as they progress in the course. Overall, students can expect to spend approximately 10 hours each week on the course.

"We invite you to join us for this pilot course of MITx," Agarwal added. "The 6.002x team of professors and teaching assistants is excited to work with you on the discussion forum, and we look forward to your feedback to improve the learning experience."

At the end of the prototype course, students who demonstrate their mastery will be able to receive a certificate of completion for free.

In future MITx courses, students who complete the mastery requirement on MITx will be able to receive the credential for a small fee.

Further courses are expected to become available beginning in the fall, added MIT.

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