Anant Agarwal of EdX is determined to transform the way we teach and learn. At the LinuxCon North America conference, held in Chicago from August 20th to 22nd, Agarwal described in a keynote address how EdX is using big data techniques and open source to offer education to millions of learners. The CEO of the online learning platform appeared rather confident about the future of online education at the conference.
Growth of EdX
EdX, one of the leading online education platforms and MOOC providers, was established by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University back in 2012. It was founded with the aim of reinventing education’s future. The renowned online platform presently has more than 2.7 million online learners from across the globe. One of the most popular classes from EdX is an introduction to Linux course offered by the Linux Foundation, which includes around 250,000 students.
Agarwal believes that “Education should be a basic human right.” He said, “EdX is a non profit, and our mission is to change the world of education by providing great, free online courses from the best universities in the world.” According to him, education has largely failed to keep pace with our modern technologically-inclined world. The online platform is dedicated to improve the quality of education and make it accessible to everyone around the world.
Making Education Better
The courses offered by EdX usually adopt an active learning approach by incorporating interactive exercises and short video lessons. All the students are graded online which offers the learners to receive immediate feedback on how they performed. Moreover, the online education platform has also taken a step forward in order to advance the condition of education research. Agarwal added, “EdX is a particle accelerator for learning. We can learn how students learn by mining the big data of learning.”
Agarwal also mentioned that EdX keeps a tab on each mouse click made by the online learners and how long it takes to get things done. He said that the educational platform holds nearly 3 billion records of data and every data is related to the activities of the students.
It also managed to evaluate the behaviour of learners who watch lecture videos online on the platform by mining student data. The analysis revealed that the ideal duration of an educational video is between 6 minutes and 9 minutes. If the videos become longer then it will start losing the attention of the students and become ineffective.
An Open Source Platform
Agarwal claimed that the entire online learning platform is open source and the EdX code can be used by anyone to develop their own online learning space. He also said that a number of universities and companies have started to follow the EdX code in order to create and deliver their in-house education initiatives.
Anant Agarwal believes that EdX is accomplishing its target of making education accessible and spreading knowledge and information by offering the EdX platform software as open source for free. He thinks that the open source EdX platform will enable others to utilise this platform and contribute to the overall development of the community.
Agarwal concluded by saying “Having EdX all free and open source can usher in new improvements for learning technology.”
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