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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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MIT & Harvard Begin the Education Revolution

May 3, 2012, 12:44 PM
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What's the Latest Development?

In a new venture called edX, MIT and Harvard University are set to offer interactive courses to anyone in the world with an Internet connection, regardless of age, background or financial resources. Despite the courses' relatively challenging subject matter, access to the classes have already been met with high demand, said Anant Agarwal, who is currently teaching the pilot course of MIT’s online-education program. Agarwal's course on circuits and electronics has attracted more than 120,000 registrants, which is more than all of MIT's living alumni combined. 

What's the Big Idea?

Besides its primary goal of making higher education available to the entire planet, edX courses provide an opportunity to examine fundamental questions about how we learn. The venture will gather data on "how long students spend on each lesson segment, which parts they need to repeat, and which problems they struggle with." Michael D. Smith, dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said: "We’re a research institution, and we’re interested in the power of technology in education. [A key goal of edX] is researching how technology can improve education, both on campus and off campus."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


 

MIT & Harvard Begin the Edu...

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