EFMD Annual Conference 2013: “Reinventing Education” by Howard Lurie

EFMD Annual Conference 2013: "Reinventing Education"This year at the EFMD Annual Conference, the trend of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCS) were highlighted and built upon by Howard Lurie, the Vice President for External Affairs for edX, a Harvard and MIT online course initiative.  The traditional model for higher education is now changing to reflect the emergence of open source content and learning online.  The advantages and disadvantages of going online were discussed, how traditional university models could work with MOOCs to their benefit, and what the next steps forward are for edX amidst all this. 

Mr. Lurie first began by outlining the three goals to the presentation:

  1. Disperse the myths
  2. Explain what edX is doing at the moment
  3. Provide a roadmap for where edX is heading next

The edX not-for-profit initiative is a combined effort between Harvard and MIT to offer anybody interested in online learning a variety of courses from high quality institutions and high quality professors.  This online learning platform has two objectives: to foster an open and dynamic learning environment for its students and monitor the usefulness of technology on cross-border learning, and to gather data on students‘ learning preferences and pinpoint the ideal pedagogy for enhanced learning.

Howard Lurie mentioned the following key highlights of this initiative, which include:

  • Open source platform
  • Portal for learning edx.org
  • Pedagogical research on learning using “big data”
  • Production support to ensure high quality

Through the use of technology, edX is able to grasp how useful and efficient its platform is currently in processing the flow of education across borders, and it also is the ideal forum for educators to grasp what methods motivate their online students to learn, giving them insights into their own teaching pedagogy.  In fact, as of June 1st, edX released a new technological development- its edX Code.  This code will include internationalization features and key research and analytical tools.  Evidently, edX is continuously working towards ensuring high technology standards in its initiative.

edX Code

edX Code includes internationalization features and key research and analytical tools.

New research have also shown that, by interpolating online courses with memory tests, learning can be improved and even enhanced through this method (Szpunar, Khan & Schacter 2013).  This is one example of how online learning tools and exercises are adapting towards a refined learning model that will get better with time.  Rapid feedback was also mentioned as another tool to enhance (online) learning.

Traditional university models can start incorporating MOOCs and edX to their advantage.  The California State System has found that many people have trouble getting into university.  Admissions officers have shifted roles to become enrollment managers at the same time.  There is a new science to getting people into the university.  Universities are thus experimenting with different methods to get them into the system.  In San Jose State University, for example, a “blended” formula of both edX MOOC online courses from MIT and in-class instruction gave an increased performance amongst the 86 students enrolled.  In fact, 2012 students outperformed their 2009 counterparts, averaging between 5-10% higher on midterm exams.  Mr. Lurie then added: “in US and undergrad community colleges, the early results are astounding.” The first online course that edX offered was 6002x:Circuits and Electronics, which received 150,000+ course entrants, and effectively ended with 7,157 certified students.  That figure demonstrates the potential that one online course can reach in a short time span.  This initial development essentially “flipped the funnel” and started to pave the way forward for edX.

MOOCs and edX

7,157 students passed 6002x:Circuits and Electronics course in a short time span.

Yet, the question was posed: why this and why now? It was through a combination of factors that pushed edX to start up last year.  Due to higher bandwidth usage at less cost, students are going online more often.  Online gaming is also booming, and early stage MOOCs are becoming successful models for later stage MOOCs to build upon.  As Mr. Lurie said, “the time has come for education to undergo the same changes.”

It has been only since 2012 that this project was launched, with $30 million given each by MIT and Harvard, and has almost reached 1 million edX users.  This can also be attributed towards the hype behind massive open online courses (MOOCs), which has begun to boom in 2012-parallel to the booms of other digital multi-learning channels, such as OpenLearn and iTunes (in 2007 and 2009 respectively).  However, there are other trends to take into account and respond to immediately, such as fewer students who graduate over a longer time span, employers now making ROI calculations on their hires, and corporations making increasing efforts to retrain their employees.

MOOCs and edX

Boom of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has begun in 2012.

Besides Harvard and MIT, other universities are responding to these trends, and even working with edX to develop open source and online learning platforms.  EdX has a total of 27 partner schools now participating in this venture, called the X Consortium.  This collaboration is expanding to offer courses from Asian schools, which now include Tsinghua University and Peking University for example.

Open Source Platform edX

EdX has a total of 27 partner schools now participating in its venture.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

Mr. Lurie described the phenomenon of open source learning and how it essentially is “democratizing” access to higher education for the world.  Through this open source platform, edX, a community of knowledge and learning is open for anyone for contribution and collaboration.  Some known collaborators include Stanford University and UC Berkeley, who support this open source development and are aiming to improve it even further.

The vision for edX is to expand access to education for students worldwide through online learning, while reinventing campus education through blended models.  What edX is intending to do is to thus expand higher education and not destroy universities.  It aims to provide traditional university models with the tools, research, and pedagogy to succeed in a growing digital culture and face the other challenges with respect to learning and recruitment in higher education.


Howard LurieHoward Lurie

Vice President, External Affairs, edX

He has taught at Harvard as a professor of history and digital humanities.  Before edX, he had worked at Public Broadcasting System’s PBS LearningMedia as its Managing Director and was the Associate Director for Education at the WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston.  He has obtained his teaching degree from Columbia, and his Bachelor’s of Arts and Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts.  This man has had numerous experiences creating online programs, and has also worked in not-for-profits in education, such as Ourselves and Facing History.

See also:

EFMD Annual Conference 2013: “Efficiency and Creativity: the Impact of Management Education upon Business and Economy in Asia” by Dong-Sung Cho

photo(8)Dong-Sung Cho, Professor of Strategy, International Business, Management Design, and Sustainability Management at Seoul National University, gave a lecture at the EFMD 2013 Conference titled “Efficiency and Creativity: the Impact of Management Education upon Business and Economy in Asia.” This lecture discussed themes of management education, particularly through creative channels, and their influence upon the economies in the Asian markets, especially South Korea and China.

EFMD Annual Conference 2013: “Fasten Your Seatbelts” by David A. Wilson

EFMD Annual Conference 2013David Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of GMAC, presented a lecture at the EFMD 2013 Annual Conference titled “Fasten Your Seatbelts.” Higher education is facing an uncertain environment with differing approaches in pedagogy and turbulent markets. Wilson discussed the state of higher education now versus what it was like five years ago, and he gave his vision for higher education in the future.

EFMD Annual Conference 2013: “Does Management Education Create Impact?” by Eric Cornuel

EFMD Annual Conference 2013At the opening address for the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) 2013 Annual Conference, Eric Cornuel, EFMD’s Director General and CEO, gave an inspiring introduction on the positive influence that management education has worldwide.


Filed under Business Schools, E-learning, Education, Higher Education, Innovation, Management, Strategy, Technology

8 responses to “EFMD Annual Conference 2013: “Reinventing Education” by Howard Lurie

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  5. Great Article !! very useful and important for student of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCS) which is open source…

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