Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MIT and Harvard Create Open-Source Online Learning Platform

edX is the name of a new online learning platform developed and led by leaders from MIT and Harvard University.

“Features will include: self-paced learning, online discussion groups, wiki-based collaborative learning, assessment of learning as a student progresses through a course, and online laboratories.”

The founders intend to revise and improve upon this platform as time goes by. “Because it is open source, the platform will be continuously improved.”

As it stands, quality educational material is reserved for the elites of society; those of us who are wealthy enough to buy an education and those of us who are smart enough to find pirated educational content. Unfortunately, the rest of us are screwed.

It may only be the beginning, but extending access to educational material which helps people of all financial circumstances to develop practical skills in this way could set a major precedent for universities everywhere to follow.

Another great aspect of this way of providing educational tools is that it begins to put education back into the hands of society. As student learning is evaluated and the edX program is revised, it will ultimately be the students who shape the model of education.

“The platform will also serve as a laboratory from which data will be gathered to better understand how students learn.”

The peer reviewed nature of relying on a wiki database means that the quality of information will ultimately be held to the higher standards of being subject to scrutiny by many as opposed to a few. It leave little room for personal agendas while putting much more emphasis on providing accurate information.

Perhaps we will see a day when all universities collaborate the same way MIT and Harvard are doing to create a massive online collection of educational tools and content.

You can visit edX to at http://www.edxonline.org/

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