- organize and present course material to enable students to learn at their own pace
- feature interactivity, online laboratories and student-to-student communication
- allow for the individual assessment of any student’s work and allow students who demonstrate their mastery of subjects to earn a certificate of completion awarded by MITx
- operate on an open-source, scalable software infrastructure in order to make it continuously improving and readily available to other educational institutions.
So, what's the catch you say? Well, the catch is that you can take any course for free and take as long as you want but in the end you don't get any credentials. However, students who demonstrate mastery of any particular set of course material can receive a certificate of completion for a "modest fee".
So no good, right? Actually I think this is true open source. For someone who is highly motivated, you can get a top level education for nothing. Lets face, it. A university degree is only worth the amount of work you put into it. The paper really isn't worth much. And many more businesses are in the habit of rewarding actual ability and not paper credentials. This could be the great equalizer. Free post secondary education for everyone. Vive la revolution!.
For more info here is the MIT announcement and FAQ page as well as the NY Times article about it.