Last night was the last session of the online Strategy and Competition in Higher Education  (SCHE) course. That’s the ending. And it’s now been almost a week since edX was announced. That’s a very big beginning, and a great example of why we are both so optimistic about the future of higher education.
For the SCHE class, we would really like to thank the students that signed up for an entirely new, untested course –your ideas, insights and questions taught us all. A virtual toast to you for a wonderful semester! We would also like to thank all the people that volunteered to help us with the class, including all the great speakers that “attended” our web conference class and provided invaluable insight. Warning to all our guest speakers: we’re going to run this class again next year and will likely give you a call to return!
We’re also considering the idea of doing a two- or three-day on-campus professional development program on SCHE, so a future blog post will invite people to help us shape the agenda for such a program. With energizing announcements like edX, we are looking forward to facilitating as much discussion as possible around the implications of the changing higher ed market. So that’s the beginning of a beginning.
The real beginning is edX , the wonderfully exciting distance learning/education platform announced last week. We’re fairly certain that no work was conducted at either Harvard or MIT that day, as it felt like the whole world was both welcoming the announcement of this historic new entrant into the higher education space and wondering how it might actually “change everything” in higher ed. . . including Harvard and MIT. We found it quite fitting that we taught a course in strategy and competition in higher education and spent time discussing disruption, different market segments, and access/affordability in higher education as being among the most important topics in this space. . . and then comes an announcement like edX that will impact all three of these areas.
So what do we think about edX? A few words: amazing, inspiring, game changing. It just may redefine what it means to be an elite institution. We are both products of the two institutions involved (Margaret has a degree from MIT and Dayna a degree from Harvard; Margaret has worked at MIT and Harvard and Dayna and Margaret both currently work at Harvard) and are proud that these two institutions came together in this way. We are also wondering how edX will mesh two very different, very strong cultures in the spirit of changing the future of education. And, of course, we’re wondering how it might influence our own worlds.
Way more questions than answers at this point, but hats off to those at MIT and Harvard for the pioneering spirit.