edX: the day after
posted on May 3, 2012 by willem in OpenCourseWare
The announcement from MIT and Harvard caused quiet some stir around the globe. It even was mentioned in the Dutch media (normally they are not interested in Open Education). A couple of observations and questions I have about this initiative:
- What's New?
They made it a big announcement, but if I look at it, the only difference is that they spend a lot of money on it. So what is the fuss about?
Why do all those Open Education initiative (Stanford, MIT) develop their own platform? Now we have Udacity, Coursera and EdX. The first two provide open education, but are not open-source platforms. EdX certainly is open-source. But there are already a couple of platforms that are used around campuses, which are suitable for Open Education. The Open University UK uses Moodle, Blackboard is doing a MOOC on their Coursesites platform (which is a standard Blackboard Learn with some additional building blocks) and there are more platforms.
MIT and Harvard are both investing $ 30 mln. That is enormous amount of money. It puts Harvard recent announcement about the costs of journals in other perspective. I personally think that with that amount of money you never can get it sustainable. Especially because it get financially self-supporting in a couple of years. It would be much more impressive if they could do this for less then $ 1 mln.
- Connect online and offline learning
I'm really interested in the research they are going to do within the project: “research how students learn and how technologies can facilitate effective teaching both on-campus and online. The edX platform will enable the study of which teaching methods and tools are most successful. The findings of this research will be used to inform how faculty use technology in their teaching, which will enhance the experience for students on campus and for the millions expected to take advantage of these new online offerings.”
In the FAQ they write: "As determined by the edX board, MIT and Harvard, online learners who demonstrate mastery of subjects could earn a certificate of completion, but such certificates would not be issued under the name Harvard or MIT." What does this mean exactly? You will get a certificate, but it is not issued from MIT or Harvard? Is this worth anything?
- Connect the dots
I like the concept they announced to connect residential education with OpenCourseWare and Open Education. This is something that is interesting for a lot of brick-and-mortar universities.
- What do their own students think about it?
I would be interested to hear what the students of MIT and Harvard think about it. The big question is, what could they have done with 30 mln to improve residential education? In this regard it is interesting to read this weeks posts in The Chronicle.
So, I like the initiative and really appreciate the steps Harvard and MIT are making. But I'm not sure if this is as disruptive as we would like it to be.
Comment from: Robert Schuwer [Visitor]
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