edX: Harvard and MIT form new online school

<p>Harvard</a> and MIT to offer online courses. A step in lowering college costs? - CSMonitor.com</p>

<p>Could have called it HIT. Or Hermit. :)</p>

<p>Part of a larger trend among top schools:</p>

<p>Metro</a> - Top US colleges to offer free classes on the Web</p>

<p>UCBerkeley</a> - YouTube</p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>There seem to be a lot of efforts like this. Carnegie Mellon has a major one going, their Open Learning Initiative:
<a href="https://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>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.) </p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>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)</p>

<p>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). </p>

<p>Less than a degree, for sure, but more credible than "I took these free courses online..."</p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>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. </p>

<p>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. </p>

<p>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).</p>

<p>A safe way for Harvard and MIT to stay at the forefront of online higher education.</p>

<p>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."</p>

<p>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! :)</p>

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.</p>

<p>mitx.mit.edu, ocw.mit.edu</p>

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

<p>It's not very hard to make a Google search, you know?</p>

<p>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!</p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>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.</p>

oh yes, my vote is for Hermit! haha</p>

<p>A great idea. Whoever can successfully pass enough courses should get a degree from either or both.</p>

<p>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.</p>

<p>Yes, but these are more interactive than just filming in-class lectures.</p>