MIT and Harvard launch a ‘revolution in education’
Several high profile open course initiatives have attracted a lot of attention in recent months. These include Stanford Engineering Everywhere, (especially Sebastian Thrun’s popular Artificial Intelligence course), Udacity (Thrun’s Internet start-up), MITx, Coursera (Princeton, Stanford, Michigan and Pennsylvania) and now edX, a collaboration between MIT and Harvard. Class Central lists 53 ongoing or upcoming open courses from these universities. Clearly, collaborations between several institutions, and between traditional universities and private providers, is an incresing trend.
The following is from MIT News (2 May 2012):
“Online edX courses will open both universities’ classrooms to the world while enhancing on-campus learning”.
“MIT President Susan Hockfield and Harvard University President Drew Faust, accompanied by top officials from both institutions, announced on Wednesday a new collaboration that will unite the Cambridge-based universities in an ambitious new partnership to deliver online education to learners anywhere in the world.
The new venture, called edX, will provide interactive classes from both Harvard and MIT — for free — to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. But a key goal of the project, Faust said, is “to enhance the educational experience of students who study in our classrooms and laboratories.”
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A key goal of edX, according to Michael D. Smith, dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, “is researching how technology can improve education, both on campus and off campus.” Other universities should be do more than just follow the news about what happens with these experiments. They should be running experiments of their own — and publishing the results in a way that ensures that they are freely available to the public.