Free Online Courses by MIT (2023): Advantages, Insight and How to Enroll

Free Online Courses by MIT

What is MIT Open Courseware?

Open courses refer to study materials and online/offline tutorials provided license-free. You are free to use eBooks, videos, webinars and all other study materials provided by the universities, institutes or an individual to enhance your knowledge and skills. You must have heard about the free online courses offered by MIT.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT took initiative back then to publish study material online for students who are looking for free online courses. The study material was included from their undergraduate and graduate level.

It worked so much that it was an inspiration for other institutes to take such initiatives. All other institutes began to provide free courses, webinars and video materials.

In 2019, there are 3000+ free online courses offered by MIT.  William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and MIT together supported this program to make it available for students worldwide.

Today, it’s funded through gifts and donations made by learners, visitors and people trying to help students learn.

The courses differ from each other. Some provide lists, while some discussion topics and seminar material. Most of the courses provide ready-made solutions and examination notes. MIT professors write books and make them available online and live stream seminars.

After seeing the huge success of free online courses by MIT, other institutes and universities realized of non-commercial process. Today, there are many big and small universities started providing their own free online courses.

Until 2018, it was seen that about 100 courses were video lectures and a lot of them as in streaming mode. However, one could also download it to watch offline rather than online during a live stream.

The program started with 32 open courses, and then increased with time and later on video lectures, live streams and archived audio-video files made available on YouTube and iTunes.

In 2012 Harvard and MIT launched Edx, a massive open online course (MOOC) provider to provide learning resources to independent learners.

By 2012. 1 million people registered for the open courses which increased to 3 million by 2013. Around one thousand MIT courses have been translated into at least ten languages. Students around the world find it no difficult anymore to self-study due to language.

Through open courses, MIT shares study material with teachers as well as students all over the world. The entire course is made available license-free which means there’s no charge applicable for the course you choose to study.

The main motive for starting open courses was to reduce the language barrier, and financial issues and make education available free of cost. It got a great start, and shares and it took no time to increase the number from thousand to millions.

What are the advantages of free online courses by MIT (Open Courseware)? What makes it stand out from online courses?

  • Free of cost: The courses are provided charge free to the public. Thousands and millions of students learning through MOOCs. Because of the non-commercial process, the site has gained reach more than expected. Students who found it difficult to study, couldn’t get books, and faced financial issues got this lifetime opportunity for free through MIT.
  • Effective professors: Professors who know how to teach rather than certified are made available to the public who record videos and do a live stream on specific topics. They write books to publish them for free. Also, students are given free webinar links by these professors.
  • MOOCs let you study at your time and at your pace: It is flexible and doesn’t require duration. It gives one space to study as per their convenient, tool set so you know whether you should work fast or slow.

All of the study materials are available online on the MIT website and other institutions’ websites. You need not go anywhere or pay for the books you want to study from. 

As the tuition charge is free, you have got an opportunity to download as many videos as you want and attend as many webinars as you wish. The power of the internet has gone so far that you are able to study online through open courses without attending lectures.

  • Makes you familiar with subjects: MIT MOOC offers 2000+ courses and has a variety of subjects. You are allowed to learn a subject of your choice free of cost. A lot of colleges don’t offer the subjects of your interest and some of them don’t have varieties to offer.

MIT let you get familiar with the subjects before you go for higher studies. It let you choose the right course so you don’t have to face year drops, financial issues and unnecessary course payments.

  • Prepare you for examinations, college-level competitions, and seminars and moreover provides students with ready-made solutions. Students every day are clearing entrances and examinations that they couldn’t do on their own, or due to other problems.

MIT has been a great opportunity for independent learners. It let you choose your career rightly. You are free to choose the subject of your interest.

  • Not based on age, background or how educated you are: MOOC is open to everyone around the world. It doesn’t restrict you to your background or what age group you belong to. You are free to attend any class, lecture, webinar, or discussion panel you wish to.
  • Learn from everyone: One amazing advantage of MOOC is you get to know so many other people within and outside your country. It let you discuss and share ideas through discussion panels, social networking, online chat room, webinars etc.

You learn their perspectives. You get to know things you haven’t been across before. However, if you are unable to communicate face-to-face you are still able to learn from everyone around the world.

  • No language barrier: There’s no language barrier to any course. There’s no restriction to where you live, and what you speak. All of the courses offered by MIT are translated into at least ten languages and must have increased by today.

What are the teaching materials offered?

Below is the insight into teaching materials offered in MOOC.

  1. Assignments (Speciality: presentations, examples, without examples, design with or without examples, presentation with or without examples)
  2. AV lectures – Video
  3. AV selected lectures (video)
  4. AV special element video ( Specialty: Competition, demonstration, guest lecture)
  5. Exams (with or without solutions depending on the course)
  6. Image Gallery
  7. Lecture notes (complete or selected)
  8. Online textbooks (HTML or PDF)
  9. Projects – with or without examples

Insight of the Instructor


  1. Active learning

Subtopic, Case Studies, Debates, Discussions, Field Trips, Fieldwork, Flipped Classrooms, Hands-on Experiences, Labs, Pair Share, Performance, Presentations, Projects, Research, Role Play, Simulations, Student Response Systems, Studios

  1. Assessment
  2. Exams
  3. Feedback
  4. Formative Assessment
  5. Grading
  6. Performance Assessment
  7. Rubrics
  8. Student Reflection/Self-Assessment
  9. Summative Assessment
  10. Surveys
  11. Critical thinking
  12. Engaging learners



  • Humour
  • Motivating Students
  • Representing Concepts Visually
  • Simulations
  • Varying Formats of Instruction
  1. Insights from MIT Teaching Award Recipient
  • Levitan Teaching Award
  • MacVicar Fellows
  • School of Science Teaching Prize
  • Teaching with Digital Technology Award
  1. Instructor
  • Co-Teaching
  • Instructor Background
  • Teaching Assistants
  1. Learning communities
  • Developing Rapport with Students
  • Getting to Know Students
  1. Real-world contexts
  • Fieldwork
  • Guest Speakers
  • Humanitarian-Academic Partnerships
  • Industry-Academic Partnerships
  • Service Learning
  • User-Centred Design

However, MIT’s open courses are not degree based. You are not eligible to get a certificate at the end of the course. They are meant to let you interact in a dynamic classroom. It is a non-commercial initiative for the public and independent learners.

These opportunities are hard to find. MIT made it possible through their open courses. Anybody in the world can learn or donate and support at the same time.

You should never drop such opportunities where you get to know the subjects you like and are able to make the right decisions later in life.

The Official YouTube channel of MIT Open Course Ware.

Here also, you will find a lot of completely free online courses by MIT. Do check their channel.