In the last few years, the boundaries of college education have undergone radical changes. With the increasing competition among the students to study in the celebrated institutions of USA, many universities have started online courses. But recently, Arizona State University (ASU) launched a unique program for international students.
Under this initiative, students residing in any part of the world can avail the freshman year course online. Later, they can use the college credit to complete their under graduation in the ASU campus or any other university which will accept the transfer credits. The students need not qualify SAT or show high school grades to get selected for this online course.
Experts believe that this pioneering effort will bring a radical change in the education system which will initiate further path-breaking opportunities. The ASU has teamed with edX, the most popular online learning solution. The edX is a non-profit service which was started in May 2012 by a collaborative effort between Harvard University and the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Since the last few years, various universities have started numerous MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). But this initiative is significantly different from others. It is free and the student needs to pay only after he/she passes the course. As the course is offered and administrated online, the students can avail and learn according to their convenience. The students can learn any time of the day and the learning can take place anywhere.
Generally, in the world of education, radical policy changes are rare. According to a recent survey in USA, about 40 percent of the US students fail to get a degree within six years. CEO of edX Anant Agarwal expressed his confidence that this new MOOC would make the students college-ready which would not disrupt their further education. Available at affordable fees, this will provide completely new path to enter the college curriculum. The striking part of this freshman course is the students only need to pay if they pass the course.
In the first year, the ASU plans to make 12 to 15 courses available for the students which will include all prominent subjects like mathematics, science and humanities. The university also plans to extend the program to 24 disciplines in the next two years. Chief academic officer of ASU Adrian Sannier expects thousands of students to pursue this internet course. Though the current success rate of MOOC courses are significantly low which stands at 7 percent, the masterminds behind this online course believe that it will change the trend.
A part of the comprehensive plan, the team targets those international students who aspire to study in the US and the dropped out students living in the country. This course, on its part, will also encourage the students who have opted not to pursue college education.
Sannier claims that most of the students feel vulnerable when they go for college education. College education in USA involves significant cost as well as profound academic pressure. This potential course will build the confidence of the students in limited risk. They will also gain considerable knowledge about college curriculum, the resources they need to acquire and also identify their weaknesses, Sannier quipped.
It may be recalled that in 2011, Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor, had forecasted that technology would bring large scale changes in the higher education. Time will decide whether this budding course will achieve success or not but it has definitely made the prediction of this noted academician come true.
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