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Massive open online courses (MOOCs)

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USA Today

Prof. Gilbert Strang received a standing ovation after delivering his last lecture after over 60 years of teaching at MIT, reports Saleen Martin for USA Today. “Teaching has been a wonderful life,” wrote Strang in the comments section of his last lecture on YouTube. “I am so grateful to everyone who likes linear algebra and sees its importance. So many universities (and even high schools) now appreciate how beautiful it is and how valuable it is. That movement will continue because it is right.” reporter Eli Curwin spotlights how after 63 years of teaching and over 10 million views of his online lectures, MIT Prof. Gilbert Strang received a standing ovation after delivering his last lecture. Prof. Michel X. Goemans, head of the Department of Mathematics, notes that Strang “has had a tremendous impact on the teaching of mathematics to tens of thousands of students at MIT through his lectures, to countless of students at other academic institutions through his textbooks, and to millions of people all over the globe.”


Forbes reporter Matt Symonds spotlights Prof. Sanjay Sarma’s professional and academic career as he prepares to begin his role as President, CEO and Dean of Asia School of Business. At MIT, Sarma “conceived and then led the launch of the MicroMasters, a new type of credential that allows working professionals to pursue master’s-level courses online,” writes Symonds.

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Laura Krantz reports that edX will be transferred to the education technology company 2U, and proceeds from the transaction will be used by a nonprofit aimed at addressing education inequalities and reimagining the future of learning.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Melissa Korn writes that 2U, an education technology company, will acquire edX for $800 million. The proceeds flow to a new nonprofit, led by MIT and Harvard, which will “focus on reducing inequalities in access to education. It will maintain the open-access course platform built by edX, research online and hybrid-learning models, and work to minimize the digital divide that still serves as a barrier for many younger students and adults,” writes Korn. 

University World News

Curt Newton, director of MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), and Krishna Rajagopal, dean for Digital Learning, explore how open educational resource tools are reaching students in Africa, spotlighting MIT OCW’s efforts to extend knowledge worldwide. “We aim to support learners with a wide range of backgrounds and goals. They may be students enrolled in a formal programme, or dedicated independent learners following their curiosities and improving their lives,” they write.


Mashable reporter Joseph Green highlights the wide range of courses available on edX. “You can take comprehensive courses on everything from machine learning with Python to creating policies for science, technology, and innovation, without spending a penny,” writes Green. “We don't need to tell you how much of a great opportunity this is.”

Fast Company

Writing for Fast Company, edX President Anant Agarwal about how educators can use technology to create the most engaging educational experience for students who are learning both in person and remotely. “This unprecedented period in history has taught us that online education is a thoughtful practice of designing learning experiences for the medium,” writes Agarwal.

Boston Globe

In an article for The Boston Globe, Hiawatha Bray highlights how Prof. Anant Agarwal, president of edX, explained that online education can be a critical component of retraining workers for a more technologically advanced workplace during a Globe-sponsored panel discussion. “We have a planet-scale reskilling effort on our hands,” said Agarwal. “The only way to do that is really online education.”


EdX has witnessed growing interest in its MicroMasters certificates, which are “online, examined and graded, credit-eligible graduate-level courses that involve about a quarter of the coursework of a traditional Masters degree,” writes Adam Gordon of Forbes. As edX CEO Prof. Anant Agarwal explains, “Learning once and working for the next 30 years is obsolete; we need to move to a world where re-skilling becomes part of the culture.”


WBUR’s Fred Thys reports on how MIT faculty members are drawing on their experience with online courses to design more immersive case studies. “We really want students to feel like they're on the ground with us, investigating with us what is going on in a particular place,” explains Danya Sherman of the MIT Case Study Initiative. 


President L. Rafael Reif spoke with Bloomberg’s Peter Barnes about the future of work and stressed the importance of education in preparing workers for an ever-changing job market. Reif said that MIT’s MicroMasters programs offer students an opportunity to, “learn something new and train yourself for the jobs of the future.”

Times Higher Education

MIT was named to the top four of The Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings teaching pillar, reports Linda Nordling for the Times Higher Education. Nordling notes that MIT, “draws on technology to prime its offering,” and, “uses data analysis to investigate how people learn and is feeding the insights into teaching practice.”


Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, writes for Forbes that lifelong education is a key component to job security and retirement planning, highlighting MIT’s online education offerings and MicroMasters programs. “People with the willingness and agility to learn new skills…are the most resilient players in an economy defined by sudden technological shifts and the rapid accumulation of new knowledge.”

Class Central

MIT tops Class Central’s list of the “Top 50 MOOCs of all Time, ”reports Class Central reporter Dhawal Shah. Several MITx MOOCs were featured on the list, including The Analytics Edge, Circuits and Electronics 1, Introduction to Biology, and Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python.