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EDX the MOOC - The Standard has been set

If you haven’t tried them yet, your missing out.  There are 1000's of mooc courses out there now, but like all things there is a very large range in terms of delivered ‘quality’. The ones listed at the end all provide serious educational experiences - all free!

CST tried a few EDX courses, one stood out as being quite an amazing journey.  EDX’s 7.00x Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life, created  by MIT is worth more than a cursory look.  In just a few hours you will discover what makes all of nature tick.  This is a truly uplifting educational process.  Professor Landers’s lectures are not only informing, but his delivery is exceptional. 

Couple this with the excellent user interface from EDX; the videos, scrolling lecture notes, pertinent questions interspersed between sections, along with the exceptional rotating 3D Molecular Viewer and you have quite simply, a highly professional and effective learning tool. CST believes that this is already far ahead of what most university courses are able to deliver using face to face teaching methods.

In just a few short hours our understanding of natures building blocks and how core ‘life processes’ actually work went from zero to profound.  And much of this understanding is quite new, you will be learning understanding that is fast evolving and impacts on current medical research and nano-technology.

To have this quality of course available to anyone with an internet connection (world wide) is outstanding.  We propose that mooc’s take a good look at the production of this particular course, as in our minds this is currently the de-facto standard for mooc’s.  CST has already signed up to the Futurelearn (OU) courses.  We can’t wait to see how these are presented and if they can indeed improve on the EDX methodology and presentation.

CST recommends the energy courses from EDX (including the solar energy module), which together provide an in-depth understanding for individuals and for professionals who need a grounding for their work environment.

However, not all EDX courses are winners.  Clearly dependant on the Professorships and people involved in creating the courses they vary considerably in professionalism and delivery.  One course ‘3.086 Innovation’ was simply wrongly named and poorly delivered in a mono-tone presentation style that was simply boring.  The course was about iterative commercial design but was not in any way 'innovative' - it took a closed view of creating new opportunities and had a negative view of what humans are truly capable of. Lets hope these guys are not involved in the next stage of man's thrust into new technologies or solving the world problems.

Udacity also have a good interface and produce quality mooc’s.  The original from Sebastian Thrun (Artificial Intelligence) is superb, with very good use of white boarding and inline questions.  Udacity’s courses are a little different as they are not time based, but open to anyone at any time.

Cousera’s mooc’s are not up to the general standard of EDX.  Both in terms of the interactive technology used and basic presentation, but they are of reasonable standard in terms of course material.

The Khan Accademy takes a subject based approach to education, and provides whole range of tools and learning for young children up to high school level. Give it a try, from what we have seen its very good.

One overall concern is the heavy reliance on 'flash'. Some providers have used this platform. This is now not available on many new platforms like smart phones or tablets (including Apple or Android offerings). This needs changing fast. EDX interface works using java not flash which is good, Futurelearn also seems to work across platforms - we are all in for massively free education for the foreseable future.

CST also looked at Udemy – from what we have seen so far, all we can say is don’t bother.



MIT http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

Khan Accademy https://www.khanacademy.org/

https://www.coursera.org  Some Free Courses