EdX, a non-profit MOOC provider backed by MIT and Harvard, was launched in May 2012. But before edX, MIT launched an initiative called MITx in December 2011.
This was immediately after the first three Stanford MOOCs, which attracted over 100,000 students, had started in October of the same year (2011). Back then nobody called them MOOCs — they were just free online courses from Stanford. A few more free online courses from Stanford were announced in November 2011. I remember this well because I launched a side project called Class Central at the end on November 2011 to keep track of these free online courses.
Below is an excerpt from the announcement:
Sounds familiar? In May 2012, Harvard joined MIT and the platform was relaunched/rebranded as edX.
6.002x Circuits & Electronics
The original MITx platform announced in December 2011 had just one course: the 6.002x Circuit and Electronics course taught by Anant Agarwal, the CEO of edX. It was located at this URL: https://6002x.mitx.mit.edu/ .
Screenshot of the Homepage of 6.002x Circuits & Electronics.
Class Central data shows that the course eventually launched on March 5, 2012. It was a big success, with over 155,000 learners across the world signing up for it.
6.002x Circuits and Electronics.
The platform itself was quite innovative. I remember being blown away by the interactive tool that would allow students to draw and simulate circuits within the browser itself.
Another innovative aspect of the 6.002x course was the embedded textbook. Anyone who signed up for the course could access a textbook — of which Anant Agarwal was one of the authors — for free. Even now the textbook costs over $60 on Amazon. Unfortunately, this didn’t catch on with other courses or course providers.
Unfortunately edX has decided to retire the platform and shut down the servers on March 15, 2017. Actually, I am surprised that the platform is still running five years later. All of the 155,000 registered users have been moved to an Alumni instance of the course on edX. Find the complete announcement below: