Taking an Online MIT Course with 120,000 other students

Source: MIT News Office, Apr 2012

Myriam Nonaka, an electrical engineering student at the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional in Buenos Aires, Argentina, finds 6.002x to be “very entertaining,” and singles out the course’s online discussion forum as a place “where you can share and learn.” Indeed, the forum, where students discuss the course and offer assistance to each other, is something that almost all MITx participants cite as a defining feature of the experience.

“We are learning to think intuitively when approaching electrical engineering — an intuition I didn’t have before,” Ho explains. As far as the discussion forums go, he adds, “I equally enjoy helping other students … in the process of helping others, you are actually helping yourself because in order to explain a concept perfectly you really need to understand the subject.”

Agarwal has noticed how much student cooperation is taking place in 6.002x. “What is amazing is the amount of help students are giving each other,” he says. The MITx system includes “karma points” awarded to students who are especially active in helping their peers.

For his part, Muñoz Coronel, who is in his eighth semester of studying electrical engineering, calls 6.002x “rigorous academic study.” And Murray Pearson, a programmer from Montreal, notes that the coursework “strongly encourages students to actively calculate and think and perform the steps, rather than passively browsing information.”

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