This week I began a new job at edX. Well, it isn’t really a new job, I’ve been freelancing with them since October, but now I’m an employee.
EdX is a non-profit formed by Harvard and MIT to put their courses online. Other top universities have joined, including Berkeley, Rice, McGill, the Delft University of Technology, and others.
Online learning is huge these days, despite being saddled with the worst acronym ever (MOOC, Massive Open Online Course), so there’s no shortage of interesting questions:
- How do you take an existing university course and put it online?
- What can you do differently if you are educating 100,000 people at once?
- What are the best tools to give professors to author courses?
- How can you automatically grade students’ responses even for challenging material like programming or essays?
- What will online education look like in 10 years? Where and how will it be successful?
There are plenty of smart people at edX working on these questions, and I think we have a good chance at finding the right answers. There’s stiff competition from Coursera and Udacity, but edX is a bit different, both because it is a non-profit, and because we are chartered by our universities to help them change on-campus education as well as online education.
Almost everything is written in Python and Django, and we’re aiming to open-source what we can.
I’m excited. I enjoyed freelancing for a few years, now I know how that works, and I might go back to it someday. But it feels good to be in the middle of edX, helping build something great.