The Coming Revolution in Higher Ed

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Distance learning has been around for a long time. Educational radio and television programs and correspondence courses have existed for decades, but last year Harvard and M.I.T. announced something new with the launch of edX, a nonprofit partnership that promised to reach countless students around the world by providing online classes free of charge.

Some believe that the massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offered by edX represent a promising future for higher education, especially with the skyrocketing cost of college, while others remain skeptical. 58 professors at Harvard recently wrote a letter expressing some of their concerns about the program. 

Anant Agarwal, the president of edX and a professor electrical engineering and computer science at M.I.T., and Kara Miller, the host of WGBH’s Innovation Hub, discuss the implications of online learning and consider whether online courses, offered to tens of thousands of students at a time, can be as effective as small faculty-led classes.

Agarwal is one of a number of speakers at an Innovation Hub event in Boston tonight on the future of higher education, hosted by Miller and sponsored by Suffolk University.


Anant Agarwal and Kara Miller

Produced by:

Elizabeth Ross and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [1]

Chris from Cambridge

Economic models of education, like the Spence model, suggest that the benefit of college is not what you learn but the signal you send by going to an elite school. If I am interviewing two candidates and one went to Harvard while the other took Harvard classes online I will probably prefer the former. The former has demonstrated herself to be among the elite few, while the latter has an internet connection. With limited time to judge people I will use the name of the university as a shortcut to hiring.

Jun. 04 2013 11:48 AM

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