College-level courses for AP high school students through the edX platform

To ease the way for students struggling with AP (Advanced Placement) courses, why not design online lessons and deliver them through a great educational and college-level platform?

This is what Davidson College in North Carolina, with 1,800 students, is doing by partnering with edX – the eLearning platform overseen by Harvard University and MIT – as well as the nonprofit College Board.

This venture presents a push into another fast-growing area – online high school instruction.

High school teachers will be able to use online courses in their classes or assign them as homework, thereby blending a class with online and live teaching.

The lessons will also be available online via the edX.org platform for students trying to learn the subject independently.

It offers also the possibility to earn college credit.

Today numerous high school students are taking MOOCs through edx.org and coursera.com.

  • “Some are actually getting credit from their schools for passing the MOOCs. Developing AP lessons is a natural next step,” says Anant Agarwal, president of edX.
  • “You can’t explain electromagnetic waves in physics in seven minutes, so we’d break it up into bite-size chunks, and have a series of videos, interspersed with interactive game-like exercises, to make up the learning sequence.”
  • “About 5 to 10 percent of our learners are high school students, and based on our experience with them, 7-8 minute long videos get the highest engagement,” he adds

The AP program offers high school courses in more than 30 subjects, from the arts to world languages, that aim to give students a taste of work at the college level. Students who pass tests in those subjects may earn college credit.

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