6.003z signals a new open education ecosystem

Amol Bhove

Amol Bhave
(Photo: Amol Bhave)

MITx student used OCW to create his own massive open online course.

Earlier this year, the New York Times declared 2012 the “Year of the MOOC.” Massive open online courses have captured the public imagination because they offer a blueprint for a fundamental shift in the delivery of education. But like any story that unfolds on the public stage, attention has largely focused on some key players who are shaping the space. Equally interesting, however, are the developments that occur outside the limelight — the innovative and unanticipated ways that students and educators use open course material to enrich learning experiences. The creation of 6.003z Signals and Systems is a case in point.

It’s well known that MIT is a leader in the open education movement. The launch of the first MITx course occurred exactly one decade after OpenCourseWare published its first courses in 2002. Taken together, both OCW and MITx offer a highly complementary vision of breadth and interactive depth — a sort of open educational ecosystem, OCW has systematically published a wealth of course material that covers virtually the entire MIT curriculum, while MITx offers a smaller but more comprehensive type of online course for student certification.

When the first MITx prototype course, 6.002x Circuits and Electronics, launched in May 2012, more than 150,000 eager students registered and a smaller core of 7,000 actually passed the course. One of them was Amol Bhave, a 17-year-old high school student from Jabalpur, India who graduated near the top of his MITx class. After discovering that MITx would not immediately offer its follow-up course, Systems and Signals (6.003), in Fall 2012, this enterprising student took things into his own hands. Read more.

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