mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Harvard Jumps on the Online Ed Bandwagon

One of America’s most venerable institutions is dipping its toes in the waters of online-ed. The Washington Post reports that Harvard is joining MIT in a new partnership to offer free online courses to all comers. The new partnership, named EdX, will offer courses from both schools and will be run by a nonprofit organization founded via $30 million grants from both organizations.

The innovation won’t be limited to Cambridge. Tech Crunch reports that EdX also hopes to open up the MITx platform to other schools. The end result, if everything goes according to plan, will be a large market of courses on a range of subjects from many institutions, all available for free to anyone with an internet connection.

Via Meadia is pleased to see more universities jumping on the innovation bandwagon. Online courses will never replace the need for face-to-face interaction in a bricks-and-mortar classroom, but America needs more education, delivered faster, and at an affordable cost. Finding the right mix of delivery methods is one of the core challenges facing American higher education today, and institutions that face this issue head on should be commended.

Not all experiments work, and you must sometimes kiss a thousand frogs to find one prince, but the revival of a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurial adventure in some of our most well established institutions is a heartening sign that American society still has the vigor, vision, courage and flexibility that the 21st century will demand.

Features Icon
show comments
  • John Barker

    “vigor, vision, courage and flexibility”

    WRM, you left on a virtue–honesty. With grade inflation, there is no reliable measure of a student’s knowledge. The greatest achievement of online education may be an honest evaluation of student learning. Of course, online ed could degenerate into an even greater fraud.

  • Mrs. Davis

    If it does the barriers to entry for a competitor unwilling to co-conspire in the fraud will be much lower. And the cost to consumers to transfer away from the fraudulent providers will be much lower.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    This is a wonderful step in the right direction, I hope we will see famous Professors from schools all over the country soon competing on-line for students. It maybe that in the near future highly skilled teachers will become as famous as Rock Stars or Actors.

  • Luke Lea

    “Online courses will never replace the need for face-to-face interaction in a bricks-and-mortar classroom,”

    Oh, I don’t know — the traditional Chinese civil service examination system did away with face-to-face interaction (until after you passed the exam).

  • Luke Lea

    OTH, about those Chinese exams: whole families would pool their resources to finance decades of study by their most promising sons in hopes of reaping the bonanza that a successful applicant would bring. It was all about corruption, a meritocracy of corruption.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service