MIT to launch MITx learning platform, offer free teaching materials in 2012

Want a degree from MIT without the expense or notoriously selective application process? Well, you're still out of luck, we're afraid, but the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's new MITx online learning system will at least give you a chance to access a variety of course materials for free. The institution will also make the MITx platform available to other schools for publishing their own content, and will even offer assessments with the option of earning a certificate of completion -- issued by a not-for-profit entity with a "distinct name to avoid confusion," of course. Naturally, "online-only non-MIT learners" will not have the same level of access as MIT students, who will also use the platform to access their own course material, but won't have the option of replacing an on-campus experience with exclusively online classes. MITx is scheduled to go live next spring, but you can get a head start on that fictional MIT degree by checking out OpenCourseWare, which has been serving up similar content for the better part of a decade.