MIT Mints a Valuable New Form of Academic Currency - CommentaryBy Kevin Carey The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has invented or improved many world-changing things—radar, information theory, and synthetic self-replicating molecules, to name a few. Last month the university announced, to mild fanfare, an invention that could be similarly transformative, this time for higher education itself. It's called MITx. MITx is the next big step in the open-educational-resources movement that MIT helped start in 2001, when it began putting its course lecture notes, videos, and exams online, where anyone in the world could use them at no cost. Meanwhile, the university experimented with using online tools to help improve the learning experience for its own students in Cambridge, Mass. In doing this, MIT has cracked one of the fundamental problems retarding the growth of free online higher education as a force for human progress. MIT is particularly well suited to manage that dilemma. The Internet has ripped those barriers away.