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I guess the obvious question is whether an education at Tech has left a lot to be desired. Change solely for the sake of change and boldness isn't much of a virtue, at least to my thinking. If we can do a better job of educating students without using classrooms, fine. Personally, I found the classroom experience rewarding, since profs were generally good performers, and made material come alive in ways that a book cannot.

That said, Tech is only so big, and if I believe (as I do) that an education from there is valuable beyond price, then the world probably would be a better place with more people in it having gotten that educational experience. EdX offers such a way. Having gone to school there in the 60's (the 1960's, thank you very much), I recall with great fondness most of the professorial performances I was lucky enough to have watched. iTunes allowed me to watch Walter Lewin, who is every bit as good as any whose lectures I attended back in the day. Is it the same experience needing to pass 8.02 as opposed to merely ~wanting~ to learn the material? Nope--very different stress level. But to be honest, I did buy the book, download the problem sets, work them, and take the tests. It was every bit as hard as it was over 40 years ago.

A major question to be resolved--and I have no idea how to answer it--is what sort of degree status is it possible to confer on people who do well on-line as opposed to in person? How do you QC the situation, e.g., how can you be sure who's actually taking a test? In person, you ID each person. Not as easy centering a test in Cambridge, but having people take exams in 5 or 6 continents at the same time.

I'm not offering bold ideas; I'm asking questions here. Maybe one day I'll figure out some bold ones.

Joe Horton
Course V, '69

Education & Facilities, Educational experiences, Global Implications of EdX, Global implications of edX, a few questions before starting