martes, 12 de marzo de 2013

edX's impact in developing countries' universities

What is the impact edX has had in the university of El Salvador?
In the  electrical engineering department, at the University of El Salvador, I encouraged to study online courses given by edX. We focused on one single course: Circuits and Electronics. This proved to be successful. Below I am going to speak out some of my own personal reflections.

1/ Knowledge updating. Professors in developing countries do not have the same academic pressure their peers in developed countries have. The saying: "publish or perish" do not apply here. In general, there is no tenure track. Professors have a very limited scope on their fields. edX has helped professors  to improve  electrical engineering basic background. In our department four out twelve full-time professors took 6.002x (2 spring + 2 fall). Right now, at least, four of us are taking 8.02x. So, in my opinion, professors are improving their basic knowledge (Basic circuits and electronics and basic electricity and magnetism).

2/ Baccalaureate. Our department was born in 1966. Since then the bachelor degree program has suffered very little change. MITx has given us ideas about how  electrical degree programs have evolved in the last four decades. This will be important to renew our baccalaureate.

3/ Professors are learning how to schedule a course. edX has made us to reflect on the questions about how students learn? how to organize academic material? how to schedule a course work load?

4/ Professors feel challenged. I would like to comment something that happened to me:  A colleague came to my laboratory. He saw me doing a 8.02x homework. He could not help to tell me how much he was upset for the way Walter Lewin advertised 8.02x. In his two minutes video, Walter Lewin said: "If you are one of those students who hate physics, it is not your fault. It was just bad luck that you had a poor teacher." This pressure could lead to have improvements in teaching.

5/ Students are realizing what is to be a student of a high quality professor. Students are starting to understand how elite universities work. They are finding out how much those universities care about students. Professors don't improvise their lectures. Lectures are the product of a very carefully planning.

6/ Students are realizing that failure is not only their fault. Failure is not just a student fault. It is a shared responsibility among students, professors, administration, K-12 education and the state. To identify each one is key to help improve students' performance.

1 comentario:

  1. Professor Martinez,

    I am organizing a conference on MOOCs for the developing world in Washington DC in the last week of June for USAID and World Bank type of people. Would you be available to join us? We would cover your travel costs.