Monday, 10 June 2013

edX: What's next?



Launched in April 2012 as a joint venture between Harvard and MIT, edX is a non for profit Massive Open Online Courses platform currently offering 59 courses from 7 institutions.


Anant Agarwal, edX’s president answered readers’ questions in a Q&A sessions with boston.com last week, here are the main takeways:



  • Difference with other MOOC platforms


Unlike Coursera and Udacity, edX is a non for profit and its technical platform is open source.



  • Commitment to free education


EdX is committed to free courses. Even low fees would be too much in some countries: “$10 is the amount of money some people earn over several months, and we would not want to exclude them from education”


Harvard and MIT each invested $30M in edX however so here are some of the options currently being investigated:


- a modest fee (around $100) could be charged for certificates
- edX courses can be considered as “next-generation textbooks” and sold to universities (blended model learning)
- “We at edX are in discussions with several companies about using MOOCs for corporate training”



  • MOOCs from non-university partners


Anant Agarwal is open to collaboration with museums and other types of institutions: “We will also be piloting some collaborative programs with NGOs and other organizations in the future”.





Unlike traditional institutions, MOOCs have no barrier to entry so Anant Agarwal doesn’t think that the completion rates are particularly worrisome.


However, in an attempt to improve engagement, edX will encourage learners to sign up with a friend and will consider producing specific videos to address difficulties raised in the forums.



  • Commitment to open education


“I personally believe in open education resources and the creative commons licensing process. I would like to see MOOCs head in that direction. And I am pleased to say that the flow has begun. DelftX, one of our partners, is making available its edX MOOCs under a creative commons license.”



  • Mobile learning


It is on the roadmap.





Courses on edX are synchronous at present, although the course material tend to stay available in archive mode.
EdX will also offer asynchronous courses in the future.



  • Courses in foreign languages


Although all courses available through edX today are in English, partnerships are in place with institutions which will be offering courses in other languages (Beijing University, Seoul National University, Technische Universität München, etc.).




Although right now very few institutions offer credits for MOOCs, edX’s partnership with Pearson VUE to offer proctored exams will help make certificates of completion universally recognised.



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