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“I Want to Teach Engineering to a Billion”: Anant Agarwal, President of EdX (Part 5)

Posted on Monday, Feb 18th 2013

Sramana: Have you heard of a company called Pluralsight? Pluralsight has a similar model. The company is doing about $16 million in revenue. They are a bootstrapped company out of Utah, and they have a crowd source content development model. They do royalty sharing between content creators and Pluralsight when consumer or corporations pay for training. They have really proven that model well.

Anant Agarwal: That is interesting. Are they licensing the courses?

Sramana: Yes. When consumers or businesses pay to take a course, the fee is split between the content creator and Pluralsight.

Anant Agarwal: Right now students are taking courses free. We have looked at cases where companies could purchase access to courses, so this is something I will keep in mind.

Sramana: Where are you in terms of scale? What countries and segments have you been able to penetrate?

Anant Agarwal: We have close to 650,000 students right now. We have students in 192 countries, with a strong representation of students from India, the United States, and the United Kingdom. We have more than 20 courses in the platform right now which originate from six contributing universities. We will be adding a number of new universities later this year and expect to continue to add additional universities in the coming years. Universities are starting to understand that it is not only about educating students globally, it is also about the blended campus experience and several other benefits. They get access to great course materials from some of the top programs in the world. They are able to deliver these courses through their campus programs with very successful results, which is what we saw with the San Jose State University story.

Universities also get early access to students. We have a good number of high school students who take courses through edX based purely on interest. These are the types of students that universities are looking for. If a student can show a university they are applying to that they have already completed courses that are at the level of what is taught at that university, it should be considered for application. Universities are successful when students are successful, and we can help them identify students that will be highly successful in their programs.

Sramana: What are the demographics of those 650,000 students?

Anant Agarwal: We have various demographic splits. In early fall of last year we did an analysis of students in the circuits course. In terms of that snapshot, we found that 50% of the students were over 25, and we termed them continuous learners. Another 45% of students were between 18 and 25, and we think of them as college students. The remaining 5% of students were under 18, essentially high school students.

Another split is the geographic split. We are seeing around 30% of the students from the U.S., with the rest being international students. When it comes to the international set of students, India is the largest, followed by the UK.

This segment is part 5 in the series : "I Want to Teach Engineering to a Billion": Anant Agarwal, President of EdX
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