Why Free Online Classes Are Still the Future of Education - Online And Distance Learning

This week, a team of researchers out of MIT, Harvard, and China’s Tsinghua University — all schools that offer MOOCs — released a study showing that students who attended a MIT physics class online learned as effectively as students who took the class in person. What’s more, the results were the same, regardless of how well the online students scored on a pre-test before taking the class.

Studies like the one from MIT are providing new fuel for people like Anant Agarwal, an MIT computer science professor and the CEO of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based non-profit, edX, one of several purveyors of so-called “massively open online courses,” or MOOCs, which offer free online classes from elite universities to anyone in the world. It’s an affirmation of the very thing they’ve been saying all along: that it’s possible to get a quality college education without the hefty price tag.