Sunday, May 20, 2012
Anyone Can Go to Harvard; Ivys Offer Free Online Classes
By Caroline Ferguson / Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 / Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012 05:05
Let’s do some math.
Suppose you were a member of the incoming freshmen class. Even if you received Seattle U’s largest widely available scholarship, you would still end up paying more than $72,000 for tuition over the next four years ... .
What if you could receive a world-class education for nothing more than the cost of Internet access?
It turns out Harvard and MIT are working on that with their upcoming partnership, EdX, which, according to its website, ... .
According to The New York Times, Harvard and MIT are only two of several universities offering massively open online courses, or MOOCs. This model of online education has been explored in the past to varying degrees of success. The New York Times cited Columbia University’s Fathom in 2001 as well as Yale, Princeton and Stanford’s AllLearn in 2006. Both eventually failed.
EdX has arguably made the biggest splash of any online education platform in the past few years.
Online education is still not considered to be on-par with traditional education. A Cleveland University study that surveyed 109 employers found that almost all would prefer to hire a traditionally educated job candidate over one that had received an online education. [snip]
However, many still consider the implications of EdX to be powerful. If it succeeds, it could change public perception of online education.
“If I were president of a mid-tier university, I would be looking over my shoulder very nervously right now, because if a leading university offers a free circuits course, it becomes a real question whether other universities need to develop a circuits course,” said MOOC pioneer George Siemens to The New York Times.
Both Washington State University and the University of Washington have developed extensive online programs, though neither provide free classes.
Currently, Seattle University’s online education opportunities are extremely limited, though not nonexistent.
Hughes thinks the program presents an opportunity to Seattle U and other colleges to have a productive dialogue about effective models of online education.
Education must “develop beyond education dumping, which is not instruction,” Hughes said.
Part of the purpose of EdX is to explore the possibilities of online education and how it can be improved.
EdX is still in development, but Hughes speculated that it could evolve beyond simple lectures.
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