EdX 2017 Global Conference: Goal is to Triple Our Reach to 100 Million Learners

edX partners joined in Whistler, British Columbia in the annual Global Forum event on December 5 and 6. The event, hosted by the University of British Columbia (UBC), allowed partners to exchange ideas and views on education.

One the conference’s main topics was innovative pathways to credit and credentialing after the MOOCs have mostly faded off because of the lack of profitability.

During this 2017 event, three business challenges were highlighted:

  • Create a true community of learners on a sticky platform that learns continuously over a period of at least 5 years, develop a portfolio of credentials, and demonstrate their achievements
  • Establish valued, relevant credentials for lifelong learning
  • Partner with companies for interviews, employment, upskilling, and content.

In terms of technology, attendants shared the goal of setting the bar on high-quality and engaging education:

  • Leverage fully the power of digital technology for learning
    – AI-powered personalized learning (e.g., HarvardX Super-Earths, Quant Methods course)
    – Leverage the engagement of VR and AR
    – Harness the power of networks, e.g., crowdsource hinting
  • Unleash the power of cognitive science, e.g. retrieval learning
  • Deploy deep analytics for learner engagement and platform stickiness

As main goals, Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, remarked the following:

  • Triple our goal reach to 100M, continue Open edX commitment, support national platforms
  • Further internationalization and launch more language platforms
  • Ensure diverse offerings and new credentials at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels in more in-demand fields

Ju-Ho Lee, Professor at KDI School of Public Policy and Management and former Minister of Education, Science, and Technology, Korea, delivered the welcoming keynote.

Professors Andrew Howells and Bernadette Drabsch, from the University of Newcastle, were recognized as winners of the 2017 edX Prize, because of their contribution in online teaching and learning and commitment to the open education. Their course, Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101, captured a unique and creative look at natural history.

“This course shows how it is possible to successfully bridge science and art theory, delivering innovative, online methods that break down the illustration components and theory of drawing into accessible techniques, so that learners can truly gain the skills they need to see and draw nature like a professional illustrator,” praised Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX. [This course will re-open on April 4, 2018.]

The 2017 event recognized also other professors who were finalists.