The Free Thought Project

By Jay Syrmopoulos

28 June 2015

Boston, Mass. – For learners who don’t want to invest in a full residential college ride, or who want to avoid the massive amounts of debt associated with university studies, a program called MITx could be a viable alternative.

With the advent of the internet came a revolution of information becoming available to the average person. MIT University took it one step further when they began a program called OpenCourseWare, which allowed anyone to download full course materials for virtually all classes for free.

But the new MITx interactive online learning platform will go further, giving students access to online laboratories, self-assessments and student-to-student discussions.

The freeing of information, by enabling people to study any subject available at MIT, was a great advancement for the ability of people to grow their knowledge base without having to go to college. The drawback is that there was no credentialing for learners that chose to utilize the program, thus providing minimal professional benefit.

In light of that fact, MIT began a program called MITx, which offers an “MIT –sanctioned certificate” for the completion of courses.

“This is not MIT light. This is not an easier version of MIT,” said Provost L. Rafael Reif. “An MITx learner, anywhere they are, for them to earn a credential they have to demonstrate mastery of the subject just like an MIT student does.”

IT’s not a full-fledged diploma bearing the name MIT, as there is concern over potentially diluting the value of a degree earned by the university’s traditional program. However, the program provides for participants to be credentialed with an MITx certificate, as to provide for potential professional growth by being able to show mastery of a subject.

Most individuals “want to have piece of paper saying they learned something and maybe that will help them get a job,”Reif said.

Everything would be free, but program participants that want to receive a credential will be required to pay a small fee. The program is available to learners across the globe, all that is needed is internet access.

With the cost of university education growing exponentially and forcing many to forgo a higher education, this program looks to be a great equalizer for individuals throughout the world.