The very first director of digital learning for MIT has been appointed, and his name is Sanjay Sarma. Mr. Sarms is the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers of Mechanical Engineering and his new appointment will go into effect immediately. One of the objectives of this appointment is to allow Mr. Sarma the chance to research the roles that online learning platforms such as edX will play in the modern world and how these platforms will end up affecting the educational experience. Online learning initiatives such as edX and others will not only impact the manner in which MIT students receive instruction in the future, but it allows students all over the world access to some of the best courses that MIT has to offer.
Leading MIT into the Future
According to a statement made by the president of the institution, L. Raphael Reif, Mr. Sarma, “will explore, collect and build on the wisdom and experience of individuals and groups across our community, and lead us in shaping a coherent vision. On the subject of blending online learning and residential education, he will also serve as experimenter-in-chief, assessing what is working best in MIT’s current educational model, what we could do more effectively and what kind of changes we should pursue, from the way course content is delivered to the way we shape the campus itself. Throughout, he will work hand in hand with our edX team, led by Professor Anant Agarwal, and our edX partner universities, especially in interpreting the huge flow of edX data about how people learn.”
Making Use of Online Tools
While edX can continue to run online and allow students from all over the world to access the online courses being offered by MIT, the main role that Mr. Sarma will play is to find out how these can be utilized students on the campus of the institution. In some instances, the online and land based experience might be combined to determine how students react to it. According to the Bernard Gordon Professor of Medical Engineering, Grimson, “Sanjay’s appointment will prime the creativity of faculty across the institute – many of whom are eager to experiment with these new educational tools. With him guiding the process, I have no doubt that the collective ingenuity of our faculty and students will shape the future of online learning at MIT – beyond.”