The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University are preparing to offer free online courses in the fall through the edX project, which is based on MIT's MITx platform.
MITx debuted its first course, Circuits and Electronics, in March and had nearly 155,000 registered students, of which 7,157 passed. "If you look at the number in absolute terms, it's as many students as might take the course in 40 years at MIT," says MIT professor Anant Agarwal.
He predicts the rate of completion will increase as more courses are added to the edX catalog. Students from more than 160 countries registered for the class, with the majority coming from the United States, India, and Britain.
The edX development team will work to make it easier for students to customize course content, including modifying homework deadlines and exam dates. The edX platform was designed not only as a means of delivering course content, but also as a testbed for educational experiments. One such project is a usability study in which students compared versions of video lectures where diagrams were presented either as digitally rendered PowerPoint slides or as shaky hand drawings that took shape as the professor lectured.
From MIT News
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