MOOCs: Bunker Hill Community College and MassBay Community College to Offer edX Course
by Taylor Cotter| StudentAdvisor.com
MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, have been taking the higher education world by storm. However, these online courses have long been seen as a threat to community college, and other affordable education options, as they provide college courses free of charge.
Today, edX, the online-learning initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), announced an innovative blended MOOC offering at Bunker Hill Community College and MassBay Community College to begin a collaborative effort between online and community education.
Bunker Hill and MassBay Community Colleges are the first community colleges to work with edX to bring a new teaching model to the classroom. Through this public/private initiative, community colleges will benefit from edX’s platform, connecting students with leading MOOC professors from around the world.
“Our technology and innovative teaching methods have the potential to transform the way community college students learn, both in and out of the classroom,” said Anant Agarwal, president of edX. “Our work with Bunker Hill and MassBay will enable us to work with other state institutions throughout the country to provide excellent educational opportunities on an ever-tightening budget.”
The collaboration between these two innovative community colleges, both of which have a history of offering online and hybrid courses, and edX was made possible through a $1 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Beginning in the spring 2013, Bunker Hill and MassBay Community Colleges will offer an adapted version of the MITx 6.00x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming course at their respective campuses. This unique learning experience will allow students to benefit from virtual courses, enhanced by in-class supporting materials and engaging breakouts. The collaboration aims to build upon edX and community college data-driven research to examine the advantages of a blended classroom model that utilizes edX’s MOOC content, consisting of innovative learning methodologies and game-like educational experiences.
“Community college professors are both teachers and mentors to our students. The blended classroom model allows our professors greater one-to-one contact with our students, allowing for greater course content mastery and application,” stated Dr. John O’Donnell, president of MassBay Community College.
According to Bunker Hill Community College President Mary L. Fifield, “The invitation to participate in edX comes on the heels of several highly successful classroom-based student success initiatives at our college that have increased student persistence by as much as 32 percent. The timing couldn’t be better.”
Through its open source platform, edX enhances teaching and learning by using research on how students learn and transformative technologies that facilitate effective teaching both on-campus and online. EdX’s ultimate goal is to provide access to life-changing knowledge for everyone around the world.
What do you think about this new step for online education, and what will it mean for community colleges? Tweet us your thoughts at @StudentAdvisor.
ABOUT GOVERNOR PATRICK’S COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRIORITIES
Governor Patrick has prioritized strengthening and unifying the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ community college system in order to be more responsive to employer needs for skilled workers and help get people back to work. This past summer, the Governor signed legislation that set aside $5 million for community colleges to be used for four main purposes: the development of efficiency measures that may include consolidation of IT platforms and services; the creation of innovative methods for delivering quality higher education that increases capacity, reduces costs and promotes student completion; engaging in statewide and regional collaborations with other public higher education institutions that reduce costs, increase efficiency and promote quality in the areas of academic programming and campus management; and improving student learning outcomes assessments set forth by the Board of Higher Education under the Vision Project.
edX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that features learning designed specifically for interactive study via the web. Based on a long history of collaboration and their shared educational missions, the founders are creating a new online-learning experience. Along with offering online courses, the institutions will use edX to research how students learn and how technology can transform learning—both on campus and worldwide. edX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.