Lessons learnt from MITx’s prototype course

Larry Hardesty from the MIT News Office writes:

“In March, MITx debuted its first course, 6.002x: Circuits and Electronics. In May, MIT and Harvard University joined forces to create edX, an organization that aims to further the MITx platform and enable other universities to use it as well.

As MIT and Harvard prepare to offer new courses in the fall, the team behind MITx is taking stock of its initial experiences with 6.002x and incorporating what they’ve learnt into the new courses.”

Below, I’ve summarised a few of their observations that I found interesting. But head on over to the full piece to learn more.

  • Though the attrition rate for 6.002x seems high (155,000 students registered for the course and 7,157 students passed), the absolute number of students completing the course is impressive.
  • The team plans to reduce the attrition rate in advanced courses such as this by offering other courses (e.g. physics, calculus and differential equations) that provide necessary background material for students.
  • The edX development team will work to make it easier for students to customise their course content and manage their workload.
  • edX is as much a platform for educational research as it is a means for educating students. For example, the choice to use hand-drawn figures instead of slick presentation slides was based on previous usability studies which indicated students greatly prefer hand-drawn figures.