MIT announces free online courses

MIT’s announced plans for a fully-online electronics course open to anyone in the world – and completely free.

It’s aimed at helping physics students switch to electrical engineering and computer science, and is intended to be the first element of a project known as MITx, with more courses to be announced this fall. Full degrees, though, won’t be available.

“We are very excited to begin MITx with this prototype class,” says MIT provost L Rafael Reif. “We will use this prototype course to optimize the tools we have built by soliciting and acting on feedback from learners.”

The course, titled ‘6.002x: Circuits and Electronics’, will officially begin on March 5 and run through June 8.

Modeled on MIT’s existing 6.002 introductory course for undergraduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), it will be taught by Anant Agarwal, EECS professor and director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL); Chris Terman, CSAIL co-director; EECS Professor Gerald Sussman; and CSAIL Research Scientist Piotr Mitros.

The course is expected to take up about 10 hours’ work each week. Students will log in at, where they’ll find a course schedule, an e-textbook for the course and a discussion board.

Each week, they’ll watch video lectures and demonstrations, work with practice exercises, complete homework assignments and participate in an online interactive lab.

Students will also take exams and be able to check their grades as they progress in the course. At the end, they’ll receive a free completion certificate. A ‘Mastery’ certificate for those good enough will cost a small fee.

“We invite you to join us for this pilot course of MITx,” says Agarwal. “The 6.002x team of professors and teaching assistants is excited to work with you on the discussion forum, and we look forward to your feedback to improve the learning experience.”