MITx by MIT:
MIT seeks through the development of MITx to improve education both on the MIT campus and around the world.
On campus, MITx will be coupled with an Institute-wide research initiative on online teaching and learning. The online learning tools that MITx develops will benefit the educational experience of residential students by supplementing and reinforcing the classroom and laboratory experiences.
Beyond the MIT campus, MITx will endeavor to break down barriers to education in two ways. First, it will offer the online teaching of MIT courses to people around the world and the opportunity for able learners to gain certification of mastery of MIT material. Second, it will make freely available to educational institutions everywhere the open-source software infrastructure on which MITx is based.
Since it launched OpenCourseWare (OCW) 10 years ago, MIT has been committed to using technology to improve and greatly widen access to education. The launch of MITxrepresents a next step forward in that effort.
Both courses begin on February 20, 2012 and each is broken into 6 week-long units with a seventh wrap-up week that also includes a final exam.
Stanford professor also launched a Massive Online Learning course.The 14 new free online courses from Stanford University are started at a website called Coursera. These are non-credit courses, which let you watch short videos and take embedded quizzes. If you sign up, do the homework and take exams, you will also a letter of completion signed by the course’s instructors.
What they believe “We are committed to making the best education in the world freely available to any person who seeks it. We envision people throughout the world, in both developed and developing countries, using our platform to get access to world-leading education that has so far been available only to a tiny few. We see them using this education to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.”
You can get a taste of what will be on offer at Coursera by looking at these preview videosfrom the course on Model Thinking, taught by political scientists Scott Page of the University of Michigan. The course is an introduction to the kinds of models used by social scientists to help manage and analyze data. The first lesson gives an overview of the course, and the second lesson looks a few models that help make sense of segregation in cities and how social revolutions can seem to come out of nowhere.
Each lesson is made up of 5 or 6 short videos, 6 to 12 minutes in length, which makes it easy to get a chunk of learning done on your coffee break, or between other activities. I find Page to be an engaging instructor, and the illustrations in the videos are helpful in understanding his explanations. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the course will bring.