From tomorrow, I start taking one of the EdX Courses

EdX founder Anant Agarwal. Photo: Jonathan Haeber of Degree of Freedom weblog

Ok, I will be the first one to admit that I am a late comer to the MOOC party.  But if you are newer still, MOOC stands for "Massive Open Online Course", and is a new movement wherein Institutions of higher learning like Harvard, UC Berkley, etc have begun to offer their course work online for any one to take, without charging any thing for it.

Majority of human suffering has one origin - ignorance, ignorance stemming out of inability to access good quality education due to economic circumstances.  So, you can imagine the promise of such a proposition where any one around the world can access education for the cost of internet access!  And when the education comes from top tier professors from top tier Universities, it makes the proposition even sweeter.

No more does an aspiring student in India or Ivory Coast or Burundi or Guatemala have to wonder if they will get a grant or scholarship to attend an institution of higher learning in the US.  They can simply sit in their home and access the same quality education available to a student who can afford to come here and take lessons in real time.

I am sure there are hurdles, and to realize the potential and understand the hurdles, I am going to take an online course myself.  I want to see if the technology holds up to its promise.  I want to see if it is personally challenging to take a course without other students surrounding me, without the kind of structure a university provides.

There are many online offerings offered by different vendors and insitutions, but the one I am interested in is EdX, which was started by Prof. Anant Agarwal.  Prof. Agarwal's vision was to release the EdX platform as a opensource platform which they realized recently.  There are some news reports which are suggesting the China is going to use this platform to open up it's higher education learning system.

EdX has a long list of courses addressing a wide variety of subject matters.  The course I am taking is Fundamentals of Clinical Trials, being offered by Prof. James Ware of Harvard.  Periodically I will be posting my experiences here.  If you are interested in the topic, you can join the course yourself - the course starts tomorrow, October 14th 2013 - and see if the MOOC movement lives up to its promise.
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