May 04, 2012 3:30 PM GMT
You know... if they can do this for electrical engineering... think of the peril humanities courses are in...
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.
Myriam Nonaka, an electrical engineering student at the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional in Buenos Aires, Argentina, finds 6.002x to be “very entertaining,” and singles out the course’s online discussion forum as a place “where you can share and learn.” Indeed, the forum, where students discuss the course and offer assistance to each other, is something that almost all MITx participants cite as a defining feature of the experience.
For Gerardo Muñoz Coronel, an electrical engineering student from Querétaro, Mexico, it’s “exciting … to develop new skills with the support of a virtual-campus community.” Since starting the course, he has interacted in the forum with “nice online classmates” from Australia, Colombia, England, India and Kenya, among other places.
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.
“We are learning to think intuitively when approaching electrical engineering — an intuition I didn’t have before,” Ho explains. As far as the discussion forums go, he adds, “I equally enjoy helping other students … in the process of helping others, you are actually helping yourself because in order to explain a concept perfectly you really need to understand the subject.”
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced a new transformational partnership in online education today called EdX, which the two institutions will collaborate on to enhance campus-based teaching and learning and build an online learning global community.
EdX, a technological platform recently established by MITx, builds on both universities’ experience in offering online instructional content. EdX was designed to offer online versions of MIT courses featuring video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, online laboratories and immediate feedback.
Certificates of mastery will be available for those motivated and able to demonstrate their knowledge of the course material, both schools said.