Two-Thirds of MIT's Undergraduates Have Now Taken an Open edX Course


Two-thirds of MIT’s undergraduates have now taken a course that uses Open edX, according to Sanjay Sarma, Vice President for Open Learning at MIT.

Mr. Sarma is aiming to change the culture of teaching there by pushing the lecture model into the margins and using technology to rethink the professor’s role.

  • In some courses, professors use a “flipped classroom” approach, where students watch lecture videos and do online quizzes for homework so that classroom time can focus on discussion. In others, problem sets are delivered using the edX software, which can instantly grade complicated assignments such as coding exercises or drafts of circuit diagrams. That frees up time for professors and provides detailed data on student performance.

Mr. Sarma has even pushed for breaking up semester-long courses into shorter modules, so that students can take only the parts they need, essentially remixing the curriculum into a personalized-learning playlist.

“The founding principles of MIT were disruptive. From the beginning, MIT focused more on student research and “learning by doing” than other institutions did. MIT pioneered the online publishing of teaching materials when it started its OpenCourseWare project, more than 10 years ago.”