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Ad Hoc Committee on MITx and MITx Online

About the Committee

Charge

Context: The action requested in the charge below is driven by two separate streams of work. 

  • In July 2021, MIT announced that it would create a new online portal, tentatively called MITx Online. This creates opportunities for MIT to rethink the ways in which it shares its undergraduate and graduate courses online, and how it shares knowledge with the world.
  • In June 2021, MIT’s Task Force 2021 and Beyond concluded its deliberations. Among its many recommendations, one is that MIT carefully examine the landscape of credentials that it could offer in the future beyond the current MicroMasters.

In this context, an ad hoc committee on online education and educational resources is charged with making recommendations for how the online education opportunities offered by MITx and MITx Online should contribute to MIT’s mission and for how the new portal for online education and educational resources at MIT should be structured to enable these contributions.

Specifically, the committee should:

Develop and implement an Institute-wide process for consulting with faculty and departmental units about the objectives for online education produced at MIT and for familiarizing them with the resources currently provided by MITx. Such a process should solicit input and advice broadly on how online education should contribute to MIT’s mission of education and research, including on the following questions:

  • What online educational resources should MIT offer? Are there resources that MIT should offer beyond online courses or sequences of online courses?
  • Which learners beyond MIT undergraduate and graduate students should MIT online educational offerings of different types and levels serve, and how and why? Should online offerings draw learners beyond MIT into MIT degree programs, and why?
  • What types of credentials should MIT provide to learners beyond MIT students?
  • Should MIT online educational offerings generate revenue? If so, how can they best do so?
  • What online educational offerings can be used for both MIT students and learners beyond MIT, and how?

Make recommendations for the design, scope, and structure of a new MITx Online portal that provides an online website to access MIT online educational offerings;

Make recommendations for the types of credentials MIT should offer to learners beyond MIT through the new MIT Online portal and through other portals that enable learners to access online courses produced at MIT, as recommended in Stream 1 of the recommendations by Refinement and Implementation Committee 11 of the Task Force for 2021 and Beyond. The committee’s recommendations should answer the following questions:

  • How should different types of MIT credentials contribute to access and affordability for learners beyond MIT seeking to advance their education and careers?
  • How should standards for credentials be determined, and by whom?
  • How should any new credentials fit into the existing portfolio of credentials and certifications awarded by various actors at MIT (including the MicroMasters credential)?
  • How should MIT ensure that these credentials have enduring and publicly recognized value?

Recommend whether, for the purposes of ensuring consistency and rigor in the online credentials we offer, a standing committee of the faculty should be created with authority over some or all parts of online education produced at MIT.

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The committee will work in coordination with the Working Group on the Online Education Nonprofit Entity. Several members of this committee will participate in the Working Group on the Online Education Nonprofit Entity to facilitate communication and ensure coordination in their work.

The committee is asked to provide an update to the MIT Faculty, the Chair of the Faculty, and the Vice President of Open Learning by December 15, 2021. The committee’s final product is a report with findings and recommendations to the Vice President of Open Learning and the Chair of the Faculty by January 20, 2022.