Friday, April 27, 2012
MITx: What the Students Think
From Buenos Aires to Honolulu to Montreal, a virtual community grows up around the online initiative’s prototype course.
What’s it like taking a course with 120,000 other students?
That is one of the questions raised this spring by the debut of MITx, the Institute’s new online educational initiative. The first offering — a course dubbed 6.002x, or “Circuits and Electronics” — is running from March 5 through June 8, modeled after one of the introductory courses taught in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).
Some people taking 6.002x are students at other universities who are using the course to supplement their own educations; others are professionals whose long-running interest in the subject has been fired anew by the course. MIT News recently canvassed students from around the world who are enrolled in 6.002x to see what their experience has been like — so far, at any rate.
Many of those taking 6.002x already have degrees, and are using the course to sharpen skills for personal or professional reasons. Brian Ho, the owner of a software-development company in Honolulu who has a long-running interest in robotics, has an electrical engineering degree and is using the course to “refresh” his knowledge of the subject.
‘Personally ... it means a lot’
Course 6.002x is being co-taught by Anant Agarwal, a professor in EECS and director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL); Chris Terman, co-director of CSAIL; Gerald Sussman, the Panasonic Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT; and CSAIL research scientist Piotr Mitros. Upon completing the work, students will receive an “electronic certificate of accomplishment” from MITx.
The lure of 6.002x, Pearson notes, was enhanced by Agarwal’s lectures on MIT OpenCourseWare in recent years. When he found out through an online discussion board that MITx was enrolling, “I signed up immediately.”
Doubtless, the MITx experience will vary for everyone. But Ho offers that for those around the world who complete a course offered by MIT, “for each of us personally, secretly, it means a lot.”
Source and Fulltext Available At