education's digital future


Surveying the MOOC landscape

If massive open online course offerings from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could be described as a city, then computer science would be its vibrant downtown core, surrounded by less densely populated but no less characteristic neighborhoods of STEM, humanities and social sciences courses.

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Online Learning is Just as Effective as Traditional Education, According to a New MIT Study

More than 7.1 million students are currently taking at least one online course. Despite the apparent popularity, however, educators have given the trend low marks.

But a new study from MIT suggests naysayers should think otherwise. Massive open online courses are not only effective, researchers have discovered, they are as effective as what's being traditionally taught in the classroom — regardless of how prepared or in the know students are.

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edX, Harvard & MIT's nonprofit partnership offers free online courses from universities for high school students

EdX, the online-education initiative run by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is expanding its curriculum with 26 new classes aimed at high-school students who are hoping to master some advanced-placement subjects before heading off to college.

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Harvard & MIT release scrubbed MOOC data

“De-identified” records of more than a million people who took part in the first year of massive open online courses offered by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been released to researchers, the two institutions said on Friday.

The institutions said the records had been “subjected to a careful process of de-identification: removing personally identifiable information, using best practices including aggregation, anonymization via random identifiers, and blurring to reduce individuality of sensitive data fields, among other techniques.”

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Writing instructor, skeptical of automated grading, pits machine vs. MOOC machine

Les Perelman, a former director of undergraduate writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sits in his wife’s office and reads aloud from his latest essay.

"Privateness has not been and undoubtedly never will be lauded, precarious, and decent," he reads. "Humankind will always subjugate privateness."

Not exactly E.B. White. Then again, Mr. Perelman wrote the essay in less than one second, using the Basic Automatic B.S. Essay Language Generator, or Babel, a new piece of weaponry in his continuing war on automated essay-grading software.

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Harvard and MIT release visualization tools for trove of MOOC data

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have released a set of open-source visualization tools for working with a rich trove of data from more than a million people registered for 17 of the two institutions’ massive open online courses, which are offered through their edX platform.

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San Jose State U. adopts more edX content for outsourcing trial

San Jose State University’s experiment with online video lectures featuring professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—by way of edX, the nonprofit provider of massive open online courses—produced some promising early results. In the fall of 2012, students in two traditional sections of an introductory electrical-engineering course earned passing grades at rates of 57 percent and 74 percent, respectively. In an experimental third section, which was “flipped” to incorporate the MIT videos, the pass rate was 95 percent.

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What modularity means for MOOCs

REPORTING TO the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at length for the first time since he was appointed vice provost for advances in learning last September, Peter K. Bol highlighted shifts in the landscape for the much-publicized massive open online courses (MOOCs). At the December 3 faculty meeting, Bol noted that:

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The (Off-Campus) Future of MIT

ORLANDO -- Anant Agarwal has quit cold turkey -- coffee, that is. But the president of edX, the massive open online course provider co-founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is as energetic about MOOCs as ever, despite almost daily calls from traditionalists for the death of his product.

MIT and Haiti sign agreement to promote Kreyòl-language STEM education

MIT and Haiti signed a new joint initiative today to promote Kreyòl-language education in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, part of an effort to help Haitians learn in the language most of them speak at home.

“This government will make every effort to make this initiative a big success,” Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said at the signing ceremony in MIT’s Vannevar Bush Room. “Haiti is moving forward.”

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