24 fun facts about MIT Open Learning for 2024

MIT Open Learning
MIT Open Learning
Published in
6 min readJan 11, 2024

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Candid photo of a classroom three college students looking at the same laptop on the table in front of them. In the background, three other people are in conversation.
Photo: Jake Belcher.

Did you know MIT Open Learning opens up educational opportunities for learners across the globe — not just students on campus? At MIT Open Learning, we believe that access to knowledge and high-quality education can empower people to improve their lives, their communities, and the world. To kick start 2024, we’re sharing 24 fun facts about MIT Open Learning.

Promoting educational transformation around the globe

1. MIT Open Learning educates individuals for personal and professional advancement. We empower more effective teaching, from pK-12 to higher education to workforce learning. We also conduct and fund research on learning and teaching, and promote excellence and educational transformation worldwide.

2. MIT Open Learning offers free and low-cost open education programs: MIT OpenCourseWare, MITx courses and MicroMasters, and MIT Open Learning Library, which are informed by the teaching and learning expertise of our Digital Learning Lab and Residential Education teams. We also have corporate education programs — MIT xPRO, MIT Horizon, and MIT Bootcamps — and research and engagement service units: MIT Jameel World Education Lab, MIT Emerging Talent, MIT pK-12, MIT Integrated Learning Initiative, MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, and Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education (RAISE).

Photo of a college student sitting on a staircase outside a building, working on a laptop.
Photo: Gretchen Ertl.

Opening courses to the world

3. A global model for open sharing in higher education, MIT OpenCourseWare is used every year by millions of learners and educators around the world. OpenCourseWare offers free, online, open educational resources from more than 2,500 courses that span the MIT undergraduate and graduate curriculum. These educational resources include syllabi, lecture notes, problem sets, assignments, audiovisual content, and insights.

4. With 4.91 million subscribers and more than 426 million views, MIT OpenCourseWare has the largest .edu channel on YouTube, offering millions of learners around the world a pathway to develop new skills and broaden their knowledge base for free.

5. MIT launched its first massive open online course (MOOC) in 2012 with Professor Anant Agarwal’s Circuits and Electronics. More than 155,000 learners from 162 countries enrolled in the course. Over a decade later, MITx is home to some 250 online courses.

6. MITx has 13 million registered learners, and has awarded more than 327,000 certificates.

7. The Open Learning Library is a collection of free, open resources with more than 6.7 million page views by 950,000 total learners from 228 countries.

8. MIT has been named the #1 university in the world every year since 2012 in the QS World University Rankings. Learners anywhere in the world can access MITx and OpenCourseWare courses on any of the subjects QS ranked #1 in 2023 — and thousands more!

Candid photo of a woman in business attire speaking to a group of 7 or more other professionals at tables. The people who are seated are writing notes on paper and laptops.
Photo: MIT Bootcamps.

Creating professional programs

9. The revenue from MIT Open Learning’s professional programs helps fund its free learning resources, including MITx and OpenCourseWare.

10. MIT xPRO’s online certificate programs in quantum computing are taught by MIT Professor William Oliver, who was appointed to President Biden’s National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee in December 2022.

11. Entrepreneurs around the world experience MIT-style innovation with MIT Bootcamps, an intensive short program focused on leadership, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. Bootcamps learners have launched over 100 new ventures and raised more than $135 million in funding.

12. MIT Horizon offers a continuous learning library, events, and experiences designed to help organizations keep their workforce ahead of disruptive technologies. Convenient micro-assets are designed to help technical and non-technical learners stay informed about the latest technologies to drive impact and innovation.

Innovating academic credentials

13. The MITx MicroMasters Program was launched in 2016. The certified microcredential opens up accelerated pathways to an advanced degree in five programs at MIT and 52 institutions around the world.

14. MIT Open Learning hosts the Digital Credentials Consortium, a group of 13 higher education institutions in North America and Europe that is building an infrastructure and tools for verifiable digital academic credentials to support the education systems of the future.

Group photo of two dozen or so adults holding up their hands with the “thumbs up” sign.
Photo: MIT Emerging Talent.

Championing research and engagement

15. In 2023, the Jameel World Education Lab awarded $917,526 in Education Innovation Grants to support 14 research projects exploring a range of topics, including electrical engineering, extended reality, physical movement, and ecological sustainability. The grants supported researchers from 11 departments, labs, and centers across MIT.

16. Emerging Talent designs and deploys new academic and professional opportunities for underserved communities around the world, including historically marginalized groups and displaced populations. In 2023, 100 individuals from 21 countries were accepted to the program’s fifth cohort. Of those, 85 percent are refugees, migrants, or have been impacted by forced displacement and come from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, and other countries.

17. MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) furthers our understanding of learning and education through rigorous, interdisciplinary research. MITili has granted nearly $1.8 million to help advance the science of learning across a broad range of subjects and throughout the lifespan of the learner, from K-12 to higher education and workplace learning.

18. MIT pK-12 creates transformative learning experiences for youth and educators around the world. In 2023, MIT students and staff mentored 80 middle schoolers during pK-12’s Full STEAM Ahead Into Summer program, encouraging hands-on learning and skill building.

Candid photo of a man in business casual clothes in a home office, video chatting on his phone with a laptop open on the desk next to him.
MIT labor economist Joshua Angrist celebrates the news about his Nobel Prize. Photo: Lillie Paquette.

Maintaining a strong connection to Nobel Laureates

19. MIT currently counts 101 Nobel Laureates among its faculty, staff, and alumni. Find courses on labor economics with 2021 Nobel Laureate Joshua Angrist on OpenCourseWare, or enroll in the MITx MicroMasters Program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy with 2019 Nobel Laureates Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee.

Photo of a conference with dozens of adults seated in the foreground and two speakers standing behind a podium at the front of the room in the background. Two banners on either side of a stage say “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” and “MIT Generative AI Week.” Screen over the stage displays text “Welcome. Cynthia Breazeal, Professor, MIT Media Arts & Sciences and Dean for Digital Learning. Christopher Capozzola, Professor, MIT History and Senior Associate Dean for Open Learning.”
Christopher Capozzola, MIT professor of history and senior associate dean for open learning, and Cynthia Breazeal, MIT professor of media arts & sciences and dean for digital learning, offer welcoming remarks at the Generative AI + Education symposium, part of MIT Generative AI Week. Photo: Gretchen Ertl.

Leading in AI, teaching, and learning

20. In 2023, MIT Open Learning convened leaders in education for a symposium that explored the future of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in and beyond the classroom. Panelists explored how these technologies are transforming the learning experience and teaching practice in K-12, post-secondary education, and workforce upskilling.

21. Launched in 2023, the “Digital On-Demand” initiative provides access to the MIT Horizon’s library of learning resources for all members of the Department of Defense (DoD) to educate DoD military and civilian workforce on artificial intelligence.

22. Every year, MIT Open Learning co-sponsors the Festival of Learning. The annual event celebrates teaching and learning innovations with MIT instructors, students, and staff.

23. MIT RAISE launched the annual Day of AI in 2022, a free, hands-on curriculum of lessons and activities designed to introduce K-12 students to AI and how it shapes their lives. In 2023, global participation in the free K-12 program more than doubled.

24. Organized by members of the MIT Digital Learning Lab, the 2023 IEEE Learning with MOOCs conference shined light on the latest advances in online learning. The international forum returned to the MIT campus for the first time since its inception in 2014.

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MIT Open Learning
MIT Open Learning

Transforming teaching and learning at MIT and around the globe through the innovative use of digital technologies.