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MIT Summit Looks At The Future of Online Learning

On March 4, 2013 at the MIT Media Lab, MIT and Harvard University, the founders of the online-learning initiative edX, convened a group of academic leaders and other online-learning experts for a daylong summit meeting titled “Online Learning and the Future of Residential Education.” On hand were, among others, the presidents and provosts of MIT and Harvard; the provosts of the University of California at Berkeley, Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University and McGill University; Anant Agarwal, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and president of edX; Daphne Koller, a professor of computer science at Stanford University and a co-founder of the online-learning company Coursera; and, videoconferenced in on a huge screen above the stage, MIT alumnus Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, a popular online-learning site.

The conversation was broken into three keynote addresses and three panel discussions. But while the panels were organized around different topics, several themes recurred across all of them.

edxOne was a questioning of the pedagogical efficiency of lectures. During the first panel, “Blended Models of Learning: Bringing Online to On-Campus,” Eric Mazur, a professor of physics at Harvard, cited a study (see PDF) by MIT professor of media

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