10 responses to “The Future of Education”

  1. Chris Gammell

    I’m both scared and amazed at the prospect of many more people learning about circuits. On the one hand, it could potentially threaten my job (though that’s not likely). On the other hand, it provides many more people for me to talk to about electronics! Plus, the number of people signed up for this are peanuts compared to the number of enthusiastic engineers in Asia. So bravo MIT! And all the other schools doing this sort of thing! (Stanford is one that definitely is.)

  2. Miss MSE

    I don’t think electronic courses can ever fully replace face-to-face learning, especially for more introductory material. I took a course as an undergraduate that was basically a hybrid of classroom/online. The lectures were all online, but we did in-class quizzes once a week and held a discussion section. The professor had recently become CIO of the university, so he didn’t have the time to lecture, but was by far the departmental expert on the topic. I liked being able to watch lectures on a more convenient schedule, but I would have missed the classroom interaction and the group study aspects.

  3. Jason

    I think that University of North Dakota was the first to have done this. Their Distance Engineering Degree Program (DEDP) is ABET accredited and has been around for a long time. In fact, I think that they’re the only ABET accredited online program in the US.

    I’ve been a part of the DEDP program for the last couple years. I work in the auto repair industry and didn’t decide until my early 30s that I wanted to go to school for EE. I have a well-paying job (more than I’ll ever likely make as an EE) and there was no way I was going to give it up to go back to school on campus. I decided to give UND a try. I’ve been very impressed with the program.

    The DEDP program works like this…The DEDP students view the same lectures as the on-campus students. The lecture is available for download or streaming within an hour of it being completed on campus. The DEDP students also complete all the same homework assignments and quizzes at the same time as on-campus students, but must scan and upload their work. DEDP students are required to designate a proctor (for which they have guidelines) and take all their exams with a proctor. The only time that DEDP students need to go on campus is when labs are required. Labs are offered once per year in the summer over a 1-2 week period. Afterward, students are given a couple weeks to write up lab reports and submit them.

    There are some drawbacks to a program like this. Any questions you have are done via email or phone calls. When I watch a lecture and have a question, I have to call the prof and wait for a return call (may be up to a day later) for an answer. It also takes a ton of discipline. There is a big difference between taking 1 MIT course and taking a few classes each semester online. Life gets in the way sometimes. The learner needs to remember that their online class is no different than one offered on campus and set aside the time to do the required work. Aside from those minor disadvantages, the program works very well.

  4. Jason

    I think that it’s only free for a short time. From what I understand, MIT is going to charge for the courses starting sometime later this year.

  5. MITx’s circuit course « Gas station without pumps

    [...] Sam Feller, a mechanical engineer, has been taking MITx’s free introduction to circuits class, and offers a review of the first third of it here: The Future of Education | Engineer Blogs. [...]

  6. Sophi

    Even though it’s free, there is still a ton of work to be done. So it’s not like that many more circuit designers will be created (although I think more EEs would be great).
    I say YES, it’s totally worth the effort to deal with doing the work online. I love that free eliminates the barrier to entry.
    I think this is the direction of education in the future. I hadn’t heard that MIT was going to charge for the classes, but I had heard that they might charge to get a degree from it.

  7. BME/EE senior

    As a student, I much rather prefer the face-to-face and teamwork aspects of a traditional college learning experience. On the topic of cost, regardless of free or not, I would opt for the tuition-based traditional setup.

    At this point in time, the MIT open course system seems to be for those who want to learn more (which I totally am for, and might take advantage of in the future, nor would I mind paying a small amount for per course). Right now, there is certainly an advantage to having a degree from an ABET accredited program, and should MIT offer something along those lines, perhaps some would choose it.

  8. Surviving 6002x – Week 5 « Tie And Jeans

    [...] I just turned in the Week 4 assignments for MITx 6002x, and it felt like time for a personal reflection and check-in. Although I have the sense that there are a large number of students following the course, I haven’t seen many blog posts or write-ups from active participants. Last week, there was a great one from Sam Feller at engineerblogs, which had a quote that just floored me. “I also note that I haven’t gotten “stuck” yet. I’ve been able to follow the lectures … [...]

  9. Shari J

    I am going to point out what probably everybody is thinking but nobody is talking about:

    I am also an active student at MITx. I am not the least surprised that 120,000 students worldwide signed up for the course. As MIT personnel did point out, this number is greater than the entire population of past MIT graduates. The demand for knowledge and the self-discipline to achieve it is real.
    It baffles me that MIT, and to be fair, other universities with similar programs, are not giving credit to students who successfully complete their course offerings. To me, this is equivalent to a restaurant throwing away good and unused food that could be used to feed somebody else. The educational platform is there and developed, demand is huge, proof of student knowledge is beyond doubt… and yet, no official credit is given (not counting, of course, the “certificate” which has no credits attached).

    I do understand that the current business model has to protect those who do pay hefty fees and go through all the hassle to enroll and attend classes at the MIT brick-and-mortar campus. However, everybody knows that one of the biggest problems of this country is the price of higher education. By offering these types of classes, MIT and others are proving that online education could cost a fraction of what it currently does – while reaching many more people than it ever could with a brick and mortar campus.

    I am hoping that some of the universities offering these new programs have the courage (and morals?) to give some sort of official credit to students enrolled. Of course this would then probably put out of business a good number of other for-profit university-businesses charging huge dollars for the same.

    I would be happy to pay a fee. I know others would too.

    There is no excuse for the price of college tuition these days. People are tired of it, the country can’t afford it, and it only benefits a very small number of people.