By Steve Kolowich
San Jose State University’s experiment with online video lectures featuring professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—by way of edX, the nonprofit provider of massive open online courses—produced some promising early results. In the fall of 2012, students in two traditional sections of an introductory electrical-engineering course earned passing grades at rates of 57 percent and 74 percent, respectively. In an experimental third section, which was “flipped” to incorporate the MIT videos, the pass rate was 95 percent.
So what’s happened since? San Jose State has remained in the spotlight, but interest in the outcomes of a second and a third trial has taken a back seat to big-picture battles over the role of outside content providers in technology-intensive classrooms.
The university has not released data from last year’s experiments with the MIT content. But slides from a presentation that edX’s president, Anant Agarwal, gave to edX members at a private conference in November showed the outcome of the second trial, which happened in the spring of 2013, edX said.
The spring trial also involved three sections of the introductory electrical-engineering course, one of which used edX content. In the traditional sections, students passed at rates of 79 percent and 82 percent, according to the slides. In the experimental section, the pass rate was 87 percent.
The experimental section hewed much more closely to the MIT professors’ syllabus in the spring of 2013 than it had in the fall of 2012. Instead of using the edX videos only when they complemented his own syllabus, Khosrow Ghadiri, the adjunct instructor who taught that section, adopted the entire edX course.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/san-jose-state-u-adopts-more-edx-content-for-outsourcing-trial/49905 ]