A free online course in electronics, the "prototype" for future courses being offered in MIT's online curriculum, MITx, is now open for enrollment and will begin in March.
The first MITx course, 6.002x - Circuits and Electronics begins on March 5 and runs through till June 8. It is being taught by Anant Agarwal, Director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), with Gerald Sussman, professor of Electrical Engineering and CSAIL Research Scientist Piotr Mitros. An on-line adaption of 6.002, MIT's undergraduate analog design course, it is designed to serve as a first course in an undergraduate electrical engineering (EE), or electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) curriculum.
As important at the course content itself this course will serve as the experimental prototype for MITx, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's new online learning initiative which offers classes free of charge to students worldwide.
One difference between this presentation of the course and future ones is that you won't be charged for the certificate of completion. While future courses will be free but there will be a fee for certification. The MITx announcement clarifies:
If you successfully complete the course, you will receive an electronic certificate of accomplishment from MITx. This certificate will indicate that you earned it from MITx’s pilot course. In this prototype version, MITx will not require that you be tested in a testing center or otherwise have your identity certified in order to receive this certificate.
The course introduces engineering in the context of the lumped circuit abstraction. Topics covered include: resistive elements and networks; independent and dependent sources; switches and MOS transistors; digital abstraction; amplifiers; energy storage elements; dynamics of first- and second-order networks; design in the time and frequency domains; and analog and digital circuits and applications. Design and lab exercises are also significant components of the course. You should expect to spend approximately 10 hours per week on the course. More information about the course content, prerequisite knowledge and the recommended textbook (optional) and a link to the enrollment form can be found on the course page.
Many a programmer has an interest in electronics. Overall it looks like a good basic course, parts of which would be useful even if you only wanted to make sure that you were competent to work with embedded systems like an Arduino. If you only want to learn about digital logic then it is probably more detail than you actually need.
This video introduces MITx and gives an idea of what to expect:
It sounds as though it could be fun to be part of this experimental course and have an opportunity to help shape future MITx courses.
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