A university education, for free
Last year, 110,000 students enrolled in the MIT course ‘6.002x Circuits and Electronics’ taught by Professor Anant Agarwal. The course was free, and anyone anywhere in the world could enroll. A few months earlier, Dr. Agarwal, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and an Elsevier author, had contacted the Elsevier Books department with an interesting idea. He planned to launch a free online course on a platform called MITx, and he wanted permission to upload his 2005 book Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits, published by Elsevier, in its entirety for the students to use.
Elsevier colleagues discussed the matter with Dr. Agarwal, and in March 2012, all students in 6.002x Circuits and Electronics received not only free access to his course materials but a free view-only version of Dr. Agarwal’s book.
Are MOOCs sustainable and high-quality?
According to a recent Outsell report, 3.17 million students have taken a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and that number may expand to 6 million by 2015. Students in 196 countries have already taken a MOOC.
But are MOOCs in the long run detrimental to students and universities? Will they harm authors and publishers by giving away free knowledge?
As far as Elsevier concerned, if we can add value to something that is sustainable and high-quality, that is a good thing. We’ve established partnerships like the one with MITx (now edX) to see how we can produce something of value for both institutions and students.
Written By: Dan Morgancontinue to source article at elsevierconnect.com