Harvard-MIT collaboration shows new role for technology tools

Thursday, May 3 2012

As top-tier universities transition to a more web-based education model, they continue to find creative ways of incorporating newer technologies. The tools are available, like live video streaming, collaborative document editing and video conferencing, and now it's just a matter of figuring out how to effectively harness them.

When Harvard and MIT announced a new venture to offer some of their courses free over the web, using these tools and their impact on the future of higher education was brought into focus.

"Through this partnership, we will not only make knowledge more available, but we will learn more about learning," said Harvard president Drew Faust. How will learning change? Can webinars replace (or augment) seminars? Case studies like the Harvard-MIT collaboration will be integral to future of higher education.

One thing is clear, though: The collaboration of the two Boston-based universities shows they are banking on embracing the new technologies instead of eschewing them.

"You can choose to view this era as one of threatening change and unsettling volatility," said MIT president Susan Hockfield, "or you can see it as a moment charged with the most exciting possibilities presented to educators in our lifetimes."