Recently, eXtension leaders attended the 2013 MIT LINC Conference (Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Learning International Networks Consortium) in Boston. The conference focused on open online education and in particular the development and participation in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Conference participants hailed from 49 countries and educational presentations provided a glimpse of how to develop and use MOOCs, educational models and programs, technology, course and user evaluations, and much more.
There is an increasing interest in MOOCs worldwide as a way to provide efficiencies in education, reach large numbers of learners, make educational programs available to people anywhere, and to market and promote course providers.
New companies have and are developing and delivering MOOCs in partnership with universities, i.e., Coursera, and Udacity, and the non-profit edX organization, to name a few.
Clearly, the focus at the MIT LINC conference was on edX whose members include MIT; Harvard; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Texas System. They offer a number of MOOCs focusing on various subject areas. eXtension staff visited the edX business center, which was quite impressive. eXtension staff also visited with the edX Vice President for Business Development to learn more about its current and future business models, and to discuss how Cooperative Extension could develop and deliver MOOCs using edX. Clearly, reaching a large audience of learners is a goal. edX was/is interested in Cooperative Extension in terms of its reach and subject matter expertise. The learning process continues as eXtension explores various opportunities.
For more information about MOOCs, the conference and edX, visit:
MOOCs — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course
MIT LINC Conference — http://linc.mit.edu/linc2013/
edX — https://www.edx.org/