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edX: Harvard and MIT form new online school

Xwords59Xwords59 128 replies36 postsRegistered User Junior Member
edited November 2012 in Online Degrees
edited November 2012
23 replies
Post edited by Xwords59 on
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Replies to: edX: Harvard and MIT form new online school

  • xiggixiggi 24571 replies872 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Could have called it HIT. Or Hermit. :)
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  • 45 Percenter45 Percenter 4187 replies93 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Part of a larger trend among top schools:

    Metro - Top US colleges to offer free classes on the Web
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  • UCBChemEGradUCBChemEGrad 10221 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
  • tsdadtsdad 3882 replies153 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The question posed in the Chronicle of Higher Education article is how is it going to pay for itself after the initial money is used up.
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  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley 6084 replies100309 postsFounder Senior Member
    There seem to be a lot of efforts like this. Carnegie Mellon has a major one going, their Open Learning Initiative:
    https://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/

    It remains to be seen how these types of programs will integrate with the in-person offerings of elite schools. At some point, will you be able to earn a Harvard degree entirely online? How would the online experience have to be structured to make it as meaningful as the classroom experience? (Though I guess I've had a lot of classroom experiences that were far from amazing.)

    Where's the pricing sweet spot? It would have to be cheaper than the cost of doing the coursework in person, but presumably would still require significant cost for faculty/student interaction, technology, etc.
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  • SombreSombre 224 replies49 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    The open learning initiative is not one which cropped up yesterday. Or the day the before that. It's been around for a few years. It's not just about a set of lectures though. What MIT does with OCW Scholar is provide a series of courses, each with their own respective sets of syllabi, courses, lecture notes, problem sets, exams and corresponding solutions. There is also the opportunity for one to form a study group.

    I am not quite sure what MITx intends to achieve that OCW Scholar isn't already doing, save for "credentials". How will that be useful? I don't know. It sure as hell won't replace a degree from MIT or Harvard though. At least, not any time soon. An interesting question is "How do you convince people to pay 50k per year for an education?" and an even more interesting one is "How do you convince people to pay 50k per year for an education through the internet?". The medium changes everything. A lot of going to either college, in my opinion at least, has to do with the people one has the opportunity to meet and the things one has the chance to do there.

    Now that I think of it, getting credentials for a course or two might come in handy for people who are already in the working force. Some people go get part-time MBAs (some MBAs are actually taught in 2-3 different schools - can't remember which ones but they exist!), so why not just take a few courses to go up the ladder or tick some arbitrary box that HR or whoever requires be ticked? (by that I mean that the content can be learned without need of the credentials might serve as proof)
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  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley 6084 replies100309 postsFounder Senior Member
    I could see this evolving into a certification process as one finds in many technical fields. A student who completes one or more courses on a topic and whose work has been deemed passing could get a certification in that topic blessed by a major institution. The model would be similar to what Microsoft does. Tests are given in settings like Sylvan which have fairly tight controls (picture ID, time limits, test data collected online).

    Less than a degree, for sure, but more credible than "I took these free courses online..."
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  • SombreSombre 224 replies49 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Definitely. I can see how this initiative could have the potential to render the "continuing education" programs at various colleges/universities redundant. It is much more convenient too.

    I wonder what kind of impact this will have on college applicants. Already we're seeing students taking courses from ArtofProblemSolving or Stanford's Online High School (which, as a side note, looks pretty good), perhaps this is next in line, seeing that it's probably cheaper than paying for actual credit for an online course with the college.

    Now, besides counting towards a degree, what else is "college credit" good for? We've agreed that edX is more likely to be looked at favourably from an employer's perspective but what about from that of a college, looking at the application of a student? My view - note that I am only applying to college this year myself and I have not step foot inside an admissions' office - is that performing well on edX courses will be regarded on the same ground as taking a class from a college and while such a course won't grant an exemption, one may perhaps be allowed to take a placement test of some sort.

    Overall, it looks like a good thing but I'm not certain if it merits all the publicity it has been getting, seeing as this is only a simple modification of a previously established "program" (for lack of a better word).
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  • pacificvistapacificvista 339 replies27 postsRegistered User Member
    A safe way for Harvard and MIT to stay at the forefront of online higher education.
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  • qwestsqwests 10 replies10 postsRegistered User New Member
    IMO, taking these online courses (free) and finishing them shows dedication. I feel like that is what should be weighted most by employers when considering these "certificates."
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  • justacitygirljustacitygirl 138 replies4 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Wow. Is this going to be open to high school students as well? Sounds like the perfect balance between pricey dual enrollment for credits that may not be accepted everywhere, and free online resources such as OCW. Hope a few courses begin soon! :)
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  • SombreSombre 224 replies49 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    ^
    It's open for everyone. Currently, there is an electrical engineering course available from MIT but it will require having math up to differential equations.

    mitx.mit.edu, ocw.mit.edu

    The latter website has access to more complete courses, however, credit is not awarded for them.

    It's not very hard to make a Google search, you know?
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  • BlueProtomanBlueProtoman 200 replies11 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Coursera's been doing this since November or so. They've already got courses from Stanford, Berkely, U. Penn, and Princeton. In fact, their catalog just recently exploded to ~36 courses!
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  • xanthosis112xanthosis112 45 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    There's also another open learning initiative called Udacity which is very similar to Coursera and edX, in that you watch lecture videos, complete exercises and homework, take a final exam, and eventually receive a certificate of completion.

    The only difference is that Udacity is much more computer science or artifical intelligence-driven, so it does not offer any humanities or social science courses.
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  • BlueProtomanBlueProtoman 200 replies11 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think they plan to in the future. Coursera has some coming very soon, though. Despite all the initial hype going to Udacity, I definitely think Coursera's gonna take over. But check out class-central.com, it groups all of the above together so you don't have to check a million websites.
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  • northbeachnorthbeach 855 replies9 postsRegistered User Member
    @xiggi
    oh yes, my vote is for Hermit! haha
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  • lake42kslake42ks 1140 replies31 postsRegistered User Member
    A great idea. Whoever can successfully pass enough courses should get a degree from either or both.
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  • northbeachnorthbeach 855 replies9 postsRegistered User Member
    anyway, i thought these schools started the online courses years ago. MIT has been posting lectures for years complete series from start to finish from various semesters. they have a Youtube channel. wonderful lectures from the physics department. online classes have been around for ages.
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  • BlueProtomanBlueProtoman 200 replies11 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yes, but these are more interactive than just filming in-class lectures.
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  • cellardwellercellardweller 1559 replies8 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    anyway, i thought these schools started the online courses years ago. MIT has been posting lectures for years complete series from start to finish from various semesters. they have a Youtube channel. wonderful lectures from the physics department. online classes have been around for ages.

    There is substantial differences between OCW and EdX. EdX, in addition of providing the educational contents for free online, will implement a new system of qualification. Not based on academic degrees but on specific courses certification. The way courses are accessed online will also be different with interactive quizzes and integrated materials. So, the whole delivery platform will be different.

    from the MIT web site, regarding MITx, the predecessor to EdX
    “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” [MITx].

    This seems to indicate that in future versions, the actual certification, which could be verifiable and possibly peformed ina controlled testing center would add signficant value to the course.

    Another main benefit not available with OCW, which became clear during the first course offered by MIT to over 60,000 students, is collaborative learning. Students can work interactively to solve problem sets and discuss the material. They may also be able to interact with faculty.
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