For ten years, MIT's OpenCourseWare has offered thousands of MIT course notes and lectures for free online. Now, it's taking a step further with MITx, a platform for interactive online teaching. Students will be able to not only read the course materials, but participate in labs and collaborate with other students online. Taking the courses doesn't confer credits towards an MIT degree, though successful students can earn a non-MIT certification for a "modest fee." Otherwise, MITx classes are completely free, and the underlying framework will be available for other schools to adapt to their own coursework. Both the open framework and the high-profile name differentiate MITx from the many extant online colleges.

Registration is now open for the MITx pilot program, Circuits & Electronics (6.002x), an online adaptation of the first course in the MIT electrical engineering curriculum. The class will run from March 5th to June 8th. In addition to giving people worldwide a chance to learn at one of the world's most prestigious universities, the class will also serve as a testing ground for online education tools that can be used both to expand MITx and to integrate online components into on-campus classes.