Presidential Lecture Series: Anant Agarwal discusses 'Reinventing Education'

March 13, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Anant Agarwal, founder and president of EdX, an education innovation and research company that specializes in open-source education solutions, presented a lecture titled "Reinventing Education" at 6:30 p.m. on March 26 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. The lecture included a presentation and question-and-answer session.

Agarwal's lecture was part of the Presidential Lecture Series.

Agarwal, an award-winning professor of engineering and computer science at MIT, taught his first edX course on circuits and electronics, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. As a serial entrepreneur, he has founded multiple companies, including Tilera Corp., and products such as the Raw multicore processor, the Sparcle multi-threaded microprocessor and the Alewife parallel computer. His work on organic computing was selected by Scientific American as one of 10 world-changing ideas in 2011, and he was named in Forbes' list of top 15 education innovators in 2012. Anant holds a doctorate from Stanford and a bachelor's degree from IIT Madras.

edX is a nonprofit, open-source enterprise founded by MIT and Harvard in 2012. When edX was launched as a massive open online course (MOOC) portal, the mission was to increase access to quality education, conduct research into how students learn, and improve on-campus teaching and learning. While that three-part mission remains, this presentation will provide an overview of how the edX platform has expanded and evolved in new, unpredictable ways to include transforming education through SPOCs (small private online courses), blended courses, collaborations with both for-profit and nonprofit entities, and adoption of the open-source edX platform across entire countries and global regions, including China, France and the Arab-speaking world.

This lecture provided an overview of edX's growth in less than two years, including a summary of who the students are, what makes the courses popular and how the open-source platform is evolving. It also covered how MOOC technologies are currently being incorporated into on-campus courses to improve learning outcomes and where MOOC technologies are headed. Finally, the presentation provided some recent research results that suggest ways to improve education online and on campus and discussed how MOOCs might evolve in the future to continue to bring innovation to education both on campus and beyond. 

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