edX CEO: ‘It Is Pathetic That the Education System Has Not Changed in Hundreds of Years’

Career College Central Summary:

  • In just a few years, massive open online courses have already been through a multiple phases of the Gartner "hype cycle." But Anant Agarwal, CEO of the nonprofit MOOC platform provider edX, remains undaunted. One of edX's goals was to increase access to education, and by all accounts it has succeeded. By opening up its platform to others, it has allowed universities and governments in many countries to expand its reach. "It is a federated, decentralized approach to spread education around the world," Agarwal told attendees of the Campus Technology annual conference in a keynote speech yesterday.
  • Rather than begin a broader philosophical discussion about the role of MOOCs in higher education, Agarwal chose to focus on what edX has been doing and its potential for using big data to improve teaching and learning outcomes, both online and in blended learning environments.
  • edX was launched in 2012 with seed funding from MIT and Harvard. Agarwal, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics. It drew 155,000 students from 162 countries.
  • He showed a photo of an MIT classroom from 60 years ago. "What is interesting about this photo is that nothing has changed." Other industries have been transformed, and learners have changed, but education hasn't changed, he said. "It is pathetic that the education system has not changed in hundreds of years."

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