Free online MIT courses are an education revolution

by Alison George, New Scientist

Online learning is the biggest shake-up of education since the advent of the printing press, says Anant Agarwal, an MIT computing specialist, director of EdX which has a million students and is only one year old. Many universities now offer free online courses. What is driving the trend? The MOOC movement is democratising education. In the past, top universities had this funnel and admitted only the top few per cent of applicants. From the get-go, a lot of students without the right economic or language background were not able to get in. We’re flipping the funnel. We’re saying everybody can try. If you can cut it, we’ll give you a certificate of mastery. Universities like MIT charge students a lot of money.

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