By: Liliana Corona
MONTERREY, N.L.- Traditional education not enough for today’s competitive job market. Aware of this situation, teachers from different universities have designed a system for supporting development before, during, and after academia, as well as for those who can’t go to university because it’s too far away.
This system is called edX, an online education system involving Tec de Monterrey, Harvard, the Autonomous University of Madrid, Michigan, Columbia, Berkeley, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Georgia Tech. It offers completely free online courses, micro master’s and master’s degrees which are designed to work in a modular fashion so that students can accumulate units of knowledge, forming blocks of proficiency in their subjects in order to obtain the respective degrees.
Professor of Engineering Anant Agarwal is CEO of the edX online education system, founded by Harvard University and MIT, which offered its first course using this method on circuits and electronics eight years ago.
“Education is a basic right, but people don’t have access to quality education even in the developed world. Almost everything we do works against that,” said Agarwal in his keynote.
One way of facilitating access to education is by offering high quality online courses based on the peer instruction programs Eric Mazur developed in the 90s. These are based on interactive teaching, which means that students are actively involved in their learning process.
Online teaching through edX has already made great strides. What started as a class with 155,000 students from 162 countries is now a series of 3,000 courses and master’s degrees used by more than 24 million students from all over the world. 700,000 of these are from Mexico alone and another 3.2 million are from the rest of Latin America.
“It’s active learning, which is very effective for education. You learn something and apply it immediately. It’s based on an alternating series of videos and exercises. You learn something and answer a question,” said Agarwal.
You could read: The power of teaching (interactive)
When Agarwal and his team tested the effectiveness of this method, they found that students’ accuracy on tests is 60% if a topic is studied with videos, 65% with a discussion on the topic, and approximately 78% with the interactive system. The professor also explained to Tec Review that the cost of obtaining the corresponding certificate for some courses is very low.
“Active learning is better. The platform helps teachers use active learning to the benefit of students’ results,” explained Agarwal to thousands of attendees on the second day of the sixth International Conference on Educational Innovation (CIIE), organized by Tec de Monterrey.
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