The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is developing software that simulates labs for students to interact with professors and other students. Students can also earn certificates through the simulated labs.
“The driver is to reach everyone out there who can’t be here,” stated MIT Provost Rafael Reif. MIT is known for developing the OpenCourseWare program, which has 2,100 courses online for free.
So far students have worked through MIT course material on their own and were not tested. Soon enough, MIT students will be able to see sought after professors in videos, participate in discussion groups, and take exams through OpenCourseWare.
“It is making MIT available on a grand planet scale,” stated MIT’s Computer Science and A.I. Lab director Anant Agarwal. “This is a great way to marry our mission in education and our mission in research.”
Students that want to earn certificates through the MIT online program will have to pay a fee. The fees have not yet been set. Currently it costs $40,732 to attend MIT for one year. University officials stressed that this program would not be replacing a campus experience and online courses are just as rigorous as the classes that are outside the virtual world. “This is not MIT-lite,” stated Reif.
OpenCourseWare launched about a decade ago and over 100 million people have used the software to study subjects that range from Anthropology to Gender Studies. Stanford and Yale have similar online learning courses.