Anand Agarwala! MIT! Indian! and he founded edX.
I always loved the idea of online learning. First let me tell you something about how it is like to be in my uni. I study at this uni in KL called Cochin University of Science and Technology aka CUSAT. Its quite famous around here. I like it that im studying there but wish i had enrolled for a better course-with better faculty. I mean, most of them are like retire-retire type and the remaining are inexperienced. Some of them even try to anglicize too much making it difficult for us to understand stuff(Not that i understand everything they teach).
3 years into uni life and that’s when i heard about edX, which is a non-profit organization that provided courses(+certificates) for free for all age groups. I was dead sure that i will be doing computer science and programming.
So i was waiting for edX to launch officially and they published their course brochure, which basically consisted of the courses that they offered in Fall 2012. I found 2 computer science based courses (I was a computer-obsessive in high school) and 1 chemistry based course interesting and decided to enroll for those 3 courses. I wasn’t sure of completing all of them because deadlines for assignments and homeworks overlapped. I started the program with enthusiasm, but I soon felt alone and unsupported. I had no one to impress or disappoint. I struggled to stay motivated. It was impersonal and transactional, and it nearly destroyed my obsession.
In Spring 2013, I enrolled for CS188.1x Artificial Intelligence and found it surprisingly boring and opted out from CS188.1x and two other courses from Fall 2012 as well!
The thing is that a face-to-face meeting in a classroom imposes accountability, inspires effort and promotes academic responsibility in subtle ways that we students don’t fully appreciate.
Also, in a campus, students attend class and stay alert because they worry what the teacher will think if they don’t.
Mark Edmundson is right to point out the pedagogical limitations of online education, but the fact is that i won a certificate from edX for successful completion of “3.091x introduction to Solid State Chemistry” with a 7gpa.
That goes into my CV. 😉