More interesting happenings in the uncollege or DIY education movement (see DIY U by Anya Kamenentz). MIT is offering certificates of completion with its open course ware. Historically, the most innovative higher education were those pushing to make their wares open and accessible. Van Hise at Wisconsin compared the university to a retailer having to get its goods out to the public. Interesting to note that the certificate will be from MITx (a little branding from TED?). But the point is that the great universities have historically opened doors to people — it doesn’t mean its easy to be respected and supported however. Its an opportunity to enter. From there, each has to make their way through and up. MITx is doing this. From Inside Higher Ed:
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology — which pioneered the idea of making course materials free online — today announced a major expansion of the idea, with the creation of MITx, which will provide for interaction among students, assessment and the awarding of certificates of completion to students who have no connection to MIT.
MIT is also starting a major initiative — led by Provost L. Rafael Reif — to study online teaching and learning.
The first course through MITx is expected this spring. While the institute will not charge for the courses, it will charge what it calls “a modest fee” for the assessment that would lead to a credential. The credential will be awarded by MITx and will not constitute MIT credit. The university also plans to continue MIT OpenCourseWare, the program through which it makes course materials available online.
An FAQ from MIT offers more details on the new program.