This autumn more than a million students are going to take part in a global experiment that could re-invent the landscape of higher education …
Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have formed a $60 million alliance to launchedX - a platform to deliver higher education courses online, with the aim of “revolutionizing education around the world”.
Anyone, anywhere, will be able to study the interactive courses, with no admission requirements, and – for the moment at least – no enrollment charge.
The first president of edX is Anant Agarwal, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory - one of the pioneers of the online prototype.
“This could be the end of the two-hour lecture”, says Professor Agarwal. “You can’t hit the pause button on a lecturer – and you can’t fast forward.
“People interact with, and receive, information in new ways today, compared with even a few years ago. We have passed a tipping point – and universities like Harvard need to be in that new space.”
The down side, however, is that successful students will not get a degree or any formal university credit – just a “certificate of mastery”.
That, it appears, is how things work when “real-life” students on campus are paying fees of $50,000 a year – and online students are paying nothing.