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May 9, 2012 / Tamara Reynolds

Democratic and Disruptive Pedagogy

A revolutionary pedagogical sharing system was announced this week in a joint partnership between Harvard University and MIT to advance enrollment, research, and educational opportunities world-wide. What makes this new system, EdX, so cutting edge is not merely the scale, but the mere fact that two such highly esteemed and generously funded higher education institutions are leading the world in the effort. President Susan Hockfield of MIT termed this pedagogical era as  “a moment charged with the most exciting possibilities presented to educators in our lifetimes” rather than one of volatility. Not only do these leaders embrace technology as experimental, but hold to the conviction of the collaborative process. Several previous small-scale pilot open-source platform collaborative projects paved the way for the EdX initiative, with MIT’s Provosts supporting key faculty members committed to this new ‘frontier of education.’ Fasten your seat belts!

Online virtual and live questions followed.

Why MIT and Harvard?

Preconditions of rich collaboration between these institutions exist, which underscores our commitment to the area as a hub of education.

Key goals of EdX:

Research in technologies to benefit online education, ease of collaboration, personalized learning for students, global involvement between faculty and students for a better synthesis of education.

Examine fundamental ways in which we learn both in a traditional classroom and online. For example, the research can tell us how well a student acquires and applies content months after a topic is introduced in a course.

How will this platform be different from Online Education for-profit companies:

Personalized learning can be drawn from this as an applicable process, videos for example. We can progressively push the online learning environment forward in quality by learning from one another.

Monetization, certification plans?

EdX is not driven for money, but to improve learning world-wide. They do need to find a way to be self-supporting, rather than becoming a burden for MIT and Harvard. Content will be able to compliment the classroom with the courses from the online version.  The common set of values between the two institutions as dedicated to improving learning and research education advancement differ from for-profit models.

Host a web portal and offer courses as institution ‘brands’ (from other universities) and grades will be given based on these collaboratively designed courses. It will be an honor code type of certification process for students completing the course work.

Open courseware is already being utilized in the physical university setting, so we do not see EdX as detracting from the on-campus experience, but benefitting it.

Note: All of the questions and answers have been paraphrased.

To read press release –

 It seems that the plan of this platform is to become a progressively globalized open-source service, which, if it succeeds, will change the entire face of current education culture. This has huge implications for institutions, educators, and those seeking a quality, pliable-structured education.

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