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“I Want to Teach Engineering to a Billion”: Anant Agarwal, President of EdX (Part 3)

Posted on Saturday, Feb 16th 2013

Sramana: So there is no MIT stamp of any kind on that San Jose State degree?

Anant Agarwal: No, not for a blended class like the example I gave with San Jose State. They get a San Jose State degree. Now, if the student took the public MIT course at the same time on edX, he or she would also have the MITX certificate for that course. A number of students are putting the certificates on their resumes.

When you take a private course, such as in the San Jose State example, the course on edX just becomes the modern textbook. The local professor teaches the course, and the student pays tuition to the local university and gets credit for that course from the local university. Students get full credit for that course on campus and will have those credits applied toward their degrees from the universities they are attending.

There is an incredible story which gives us a great example of this. There is a high school student from Mongolia who is 15 years old. He took a course in the spring and he got a perfect score in the entire course. He has now applied to MIT and Berkeley as an undergraduate. People are using these credentials to get into universities.

Sramana: One of my childhood friends lives in Delhi now. Her daughter did one of the MIT engineering courses. She is 15, and she apparently received an email from you congratulating her on completing the course. My friend remembered that you had also been my advisor and she sent me an email saying “Sramana, my daughter just got an email from your advisor!” It was charming.

Anant Agarwal: What a small world! I remember her, she is from Delhi and sent me an email telling me that she was a high school student from Delhi and how much she loved the course. She told me how she would repair electronics like vacuum cleaners and so forth.

When I saw that email, I thought it was fantastic. I forwarded her email to the MIT admissions office and the head of MIT engineering. I told them that this was the type of student that we needed at MIT, especially if we wanted to get women involved in engineering.

Sramana: When students take courses with edX, do they get a diploma or a series of certificates?

Anant Agarwal: At this time edX issues certificates. We expect to offer course sequences from universities and associate the successful completion of those course sequences with a form of credential.

This segment is part 3 in the series : "I Want to Teach Engineering to a Billion": Anant Agarwal, President of EdX
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