Americans are worried about unemployment, frustrated by recession, choking in mountains of debt and are worried and uncertain about the future. 1 of the biggest barriers to the mainstreaming of online education is the typical assumption that students never learn as nicely with computer-primarily based instruction as they do with in-particular person instruction. On the non-profit side, MIT has been the nation’s leader in pioneering open-supply on the web education through its MITx platform, which launched final December and serves as the basis for the new edX platform.
Among the chattering classes in higher ed, there is an increasing sense that we have reached a tipping point where new interactive internet technologies, coupled with widespread access to broadband net service and improved student comfort interacting on-line, will send on the web education mainstream. In the future, the primary platform for higher education may be a third-celebration site, not the university itself. Coursera, for instance, has formed agreements with Penn, Princeton, UC Berkeley, and the University of Michigan to handle these schools’ forays into on the web education.
The arrival of credentials, backed by respected universities, eliminates one particular of the final remaining obstacles to the widespread adoption of low-cost online education. Anant Agarwal, an MIT computer science professor and edX’s very first president, told the Los Angeles Occasions, MIT’s and Harvard’s mission is to supply affordable education to anybody who wants it.” That is a extremely various mission than elite schools like Harvard and MIT have had for most of their existence. On-line education is not an enemy of residential education”, mentioned MIT president Susan Hockfield.
But Agarwal’s statement is an indication that, at some level, these institutions comprehend that the scalability and financial efficiency of on the internet education allow for a new kind of mission for elite universities. Sensible universities should be investing in on the web technology and positioning themselves as leaders in the new frontier of open-supply education. This makes them rather conservative when it comes to the politics of higher education, in sharp contrast to their usual leftwing political bias in other areas.
Generating the world’s premier, credentialed open on-line education platform would be a main achievement for any university, and it would probably price considerably less than creating a new luxury dorm. The era of on the web education presents universities with a conflict of interests—the goal of educating the public on 1 hand, and the purpose of producing income on the other. They treat the savings of online education as a way to enhance profit margins they never pass these savings along to students. The Extension School was founded for the egalitarian objective of producing the Harvard education accessible to the masses.