• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 6 comments on BU Joins Leading Online Course Platform edX

  1. This is a most interesting and promising development. I’m not entirely surprised, since I predicted it three weeks ago …

    But it is positive that BU chose edX over the for-profit MOOC providers. In my opinion, if the university wanted to jump in with MOOCs, it was always better to do it in a way that is aligned with the university’s mission, and this seems to fit best with a not-for-profit online-learning company.

    Another advantage of edX is that their platform is open source, although only some components are so-far released. Thus, it will be possible to develop new course building blocks that some faculty may need, if the programming expertise is available to do so. Personally, I’d like to see extensions to the platform for coding assignments; something like embedded iPython notebooks! I would love to use something like that in my Computational Fluid Dynamics course—a course for which video lectures have been on YouTube for a year now, collecting more than 112,000 views so far :

    By the way, using these video lectures, my students at BU have already been experiencing a “flipped classroom”, which is the hybrid-learning modality implied in the third and fourth paragraphs of this piece. Context and quizzes were provided for these videos using the TED-Ed platform. You can read more about that on:

    I’m most curious about the courses that BU will offer openly and massively! We’ll just have to wait to find out.

    1. Hi Lorena,
      You are one of BU’s pioneers in employing technology in the classroom and beyond. Now that BU has officially joined edX, what role will you play in helping the rest of us get up to speed?

      1. Hi Zvi,
        The university’s Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation (CETLI) has taken the lead on all of these initiatives, and I haven’t participated in the conversations.
        It seems that a good idea would have been to call faculty already involved in technology-supported and open education to form a sort of “Skunk Works” of innovation from within, but as far as i know, this is not in the agenda.

  2. Sounds great. I’m sure it will go exactly as well as BU Works and every other major effort BU has undertaken for the sake of doing something and not really having a plan.

    Also a big kudos to President Brown and the BU administration here for not taking the time to acknowledge the folks who have built BU’s existing distance education and streaming content delivery services with insufficient resources and overall lack of support from the administration. Never change.

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