The Future of Education

The Institute's signature educational initiative, MITx, is our attempt to reinvent the college experience and educate anyone, anywhere, who is interested in learning. Through the edX partnership that was initiated with Harvard University in 2011, and has since expanded to include dozens of universities worldwide, MIT is developing the tools, technologies, and content that will shape and define online education. 

MIT's engineers have played a central role in MIT's pedagogical boldness since the Institute was founded in 1861. From the radical ideas in MIT’s charter—merging lofty intellect with hands-on experimentation—to the establishment of MIT OpenCourseWare in 2001, to the creation of the MIT+K12 video program in 2012, the School of Engineering has always played a leading role in sharing MIT's ethos of mens et manus (mind and hand) with the world. Its approach to digital learning is only the latest chapter in this story. By combining digital tools with individualized teaching, research-driven methodology, an ethos for open sharing, and the in-person magic of MIT, the Institute has embarked on a truly epic experiment in teaching and learning. 

Under the direction of Sanjay Sarma, the Dean of Digital Learning and Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Isaac Chuang, Senior Associate Dean of Digital Learning and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MITx catalyzes and amplifies MIT's innovations and initiatives in online education through the Office of Digital Learning. ODL supports and provides resources for faculty and students who are interested in exploring new ideas that will enhance our residential education. They facilitate research on how people learn and on new technologies that might improve understanding, retention, and application. They provide platforms for technological advances in digital education. And they partner with companies, universities, governments, and other organizations that wish to develop new learning capabilities and enhance the competencies of their workforce, students, and citizens. 

MITx has enjoyed robust participation from other members of the School of Engineering faculty. During the 2014-15 academic year, faculty in the School of Engineering published 24 courses on MITx, including courses from Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Materials Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Engineering Systems, and the Center for Transportation and Logistics. Cumulatively, these courses reached over 325,000 learners. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming continues to be MIT’s most demanded course on edX, reaching over 100,000 learners from over 200 countries in 2014-15, and over 285,000 since its inception.