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A massive experiment in learning. Edward Slingerland’s course on early Chinese philosophy is one of four new MOOCs being launched by UBC professors.

A massive experiment in learning

Photo: Martin Dee Four new online courses at UBC are attracting a new breed of students and changing teaching methods on campus “If you want to know why your Chinese business partners want to sit down and have a drink with you before they sign a contract, then take my course.” That’s the pitch Professor Edward Slingerland uses to encourage a different type of student to register for his online course, Foundations of Chinese Thought, one of a new suite of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offered by UBC.

And people from all over the world are signing up. “One of the appeals of the MOOC platform is that you reach a completely new demographic,” says Slingerland. The large number of students who enroll in MOOCs allows instructors to experiment with new ways of presenting and assessing material. Video: edX | Foundations of Chinese Thought. EdX CEO Anant Agarwal Describes Unbundling of Higher Education. Anant Agarwal did a 15-minute radio interview with Here and Now where he painted one scenario how MOOCs could change the model for higher education (he also reiterated this vision in this Financial Times MBA blog chat).

edX CEO Anant Agarwal Describes Unbundling of Higher Education

“Imagine that a student comes into college having done their first year of college as MOOCs and online — possibly even for free. And they come in and they get credit for those first year of courses. They spend two years on campus, and then rather than spending the fourth year on campus, they go outside, get a job and become continuous learners for the rest of their lives. So a continuous education system like this could solve many problems.

It will allow people to get just-in-time education on topics that are on the cutting edge of technology and learn as they need to learn…” Notice two things here. It seems fashionable now for pundits to distance themselves from the “disrupting higher education” hype from 2012, and predict uncertain or minor changes. Leadership. Anant Agarwal is the CEO of edX, an online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT.


Anant taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics from MIT, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. He has served as the director of CSAIL, MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. He is a successful serial entrepreneur, having co-founded several companies including Tilera Corporation, which created the Tile multicore processor, and Virtual Machine Works. Anant won the Maurice Wilkes prize for computer architecture, and MIT's Smullin and Jamieson prizes for teaching. He holds a Guinness World Record for the largest microphone array, and is an author of the textbook "Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits. " The Best MOOC Provider: A Review of Coursera, Udacity and Edx - Since the MOOC phenomenon took off two years ago, numerous providers have emerged that students might try out, including Canvas and NovoED in the US, Open2Study in Australia, FutureLearn in the UK and iversity in Germany.

The Best MOOC Provider: A Review of Coursera, Udacity and Edx -

And it’s important to note that the history of MOOCs pre-dates any of these platforms, having first started when individual teachers experimented with opening the doors to all comers. But starting in 2012, three organizations — Udacity, edX and Coursera — started to dominate conversations about MOOCs. These “big three” have the largest catalogs of courses, and they are where most students interested in MOOCs still start their experience. Those three have kept growing — and changing — as they figure out new ways to attract students.

For example, all three have made significant changes to their business models. What does all these changes mean for you, the student? [sksearchform] First, what is a MOOC? By this definition of MOOCs, Udacity was always an odd fit. Apps. Harvard MOOC online learning lessons from edX. A newly published, two-year assessment of the massive open online courses (MOOCs) created by HarvardX and MITx through their edX online-learning partnership describes in depth the evolving features of 68 courses offered by the two institutions.

Harvard MOOC online learning lessons from edX

The analysis, conducted by the HarvardX Research Committee and MIT’s Office of Digital Learning, delivers three distinct, valuable kinds of insights into the field: a fuller, enriched characterization of MOOCs, whose users have evolved significantly as more courses have become available;hints of emerging advanced research that may provide insights into the effectiveness of different teaching approaches and the actual learning achieved by MOOC users; andthe applications of these inquiries and their insights to on-campus, classroom courses. From “Enrollment” to Participation and Certification By registrants, we mean those who have expressed interest in the course by enrolling [a simple, online procedure], but have not [taken] any subsequent action.

EdX CEO Lays Out Disruptive Vision For Higher Ed.