Education should go from bricks and mortar to bits and bytes

Anant Agarwal, president, EdX, believes the blended classroom is the future – a classroom that will benefit from a rich array of online courses and the vitality of interpersonal communication, The Economic Times reports.

EdX, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform that offers university-level courses from professors around the world was founded by MIT and Harvard University last year. It is now in talks with Indian universities on hosting and distributing courses. He talks to TOI about the role a virtual screen can play in education.

EdX recently tied up with an Indian employment assessment company. Do you see MOOCs playing a role in bridging the skill gap?

Any student with the will to learn and an internet connection can take a course for free and get a certificate for passing it — a credential. And India is a credential hungry nation. And you get these certificates even if you don’t have admission in a university such as MIT, Harvard or IIT Bombay.

That is a big deal — the brand. We have 1.2 million students from every single country across the world. We have 1.5 lakh students from India. Aspiring Minds (AM) will offer this test that enables students to pinpoint their skill gaps and tell you what EdX course you need to fill those gaps. They can pass the course, they get a certificate which they can post that certificate on AM, that connects employers to applicants.

Do you think self-learning will be a big thing in India where we learn to a purpose — a job, a degree?

When you pass a course, you get a certificate and you get jobs. One of the stories is Amol Bhave from Jabalpur who took an EdX course, and did really well. He applied to MIT and his doing well in that course was a key feature in him getting admission. Students are seeing results. Others tell us about promotions.

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