When the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) enrolled over a hundred thousand students from all over the world, it started an education buzz about how technology could revolutionize higher education. A few years later, MOOCs haven’t exactly replaced expensive college degrees, but edX CEO Anant Agarwal says the MIT experiment with MOOCs has given educators important insights into how students learn.
In his TED talk, Agarwal describes how MOOCs are inspiring university and high school teachers to try assigning video lectures for homework so class time can be used for asking questions and hands-on assignments. He’s fired up at how engaged students have been and at the power of immediate feedback the online platform offers. Even more impressive, students from around the world are discussing concepts together online, eventually finding answers to questions on their own. MOOCs may not have upended the university system as predicted, but they may have done something better, Agarwal says — force inert institutions to rethink their practices.