Indian-American e-learning pioneer, helps US colleges adopt hybrid model

(sourced from IndiaWest. Full report here)
October 2 2020: The Indian American-founded online initiative edX is serving as a guide to educational institutions as higher education facilities brace for a fall schooling schedule like no other.|
With colleges and universities prepping for the fall, struggling for a balance between ensuring the health and safety of teachers, students, and staff while providing a robust education experience with the COVID-19 pandemic still on the rise throughout the U.S., Anant Agarwal’s edX is providing a way forward.
As of July 27, about 49 percent of colleges are planning in-person classes, 13 percent (including Harvard) are planning to remain online, and 35 percent are looking at hybrid models, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s updated listing of 1,260 colleges, said Harvard in a report.
Harvard noted that Agarwal prefers a hybrid model.|
In fact, the report adds, the MIT professor predicts in a recent article published via LinkedIn that combining live and online classes could become the path for the future not just in the pandemic era but beyond as it offers tremendous flexibility for students and can be tailored to the needs of various programs and institutions, citing research edX did at MIT.
Increasingly, schools have been tapping into the expertise of edX, which was founded in 2012 with a goal of democratizing higher education by offering free, college-quality classes called MOOCs, which stands for massive open online courses, the report said.
Agarwal, the edX founder and chief executive, told India-West this development is nothing he ever imagined when he created the platform.
“We could never have predicted a global event like this. We saw a significant uptick in traffic from all over the world starting in mid-March, and we were proud that edX could serve as a resource to those impacted by the spread of the coronavirus,” Agarwal told India-West. “In April alone, we gained 5 million new learners globally, which is the same amount that joined edX in all of 2019. We now have 32 million learners in total, 3 million of which are from India,” he said.