If you’ve always wanted to attend Harvard University or to count yourself among the elite of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), now’s your chance. The two prestigious universities have joined forces to create edX and will begin offering free online courses this fall.


Five edX courses will be offered to learners around the world this fall. This isn’t going to be just your basic video-watching type of online course, though. The open-source technology used will allow students and instructors an interactive experience and since the technology is open-source, other institutions will be able to adopt the technology and develop their own offerings.


While the courses are free, students who complete the class may be available to purchase a certificate of mastery for a small fee. If you’re looking for a piece of paper that has your name and MIT or Harvard on it, though, this isn’t the certificate for you. The MIT website announcing the new venture clearly states “such certificates would not be issued under the name of Harvard or MIT.”


Additionally, no college credits would be issued for successful completion of the course. In my opinion, this is a non-issue. I’m more interested in having access to some of the world’s most brilliant educational minds from the comfort of my own home.


I am a life-long learner, always striving to learn more, and the Internet has opened up many new doors for learning. The partnership between MIT and Harvard is just one more way that information junkies like myself can get their fix.


Also on MNN: 7 other places where you can get a free online education