Universities are like soooo last century:
In the virtual classroom of tomorrow, central bank and government officials will be able to supplement what they learn in physical IMF classrooms by tapping into an online network of economics and financial training courses.
And courses that have thus far been restricted to IMF member country officials will be available to students, bankers—anyone who’s interested and has an internet connection.
Thanks to a new partnership with edX, the nonprofit online learning initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the IMF will soon start offering economics courses online to officials from around the world to complement its traditional training delivery. Free public access, through so-called massive open online courses (MOOCs), will follow in 2014.
While public access for the IMF courses is still a year away and edX itself is currently less than a year old, online education delivery isn’t actually new, as prominent as this one may be (edX is backed by Harvard and MIT). But courses previously delivered this way were offered by existing traditional-style universities and/or private institutions (think Khan Academy), not multilateral international institutions involved in the practical aspects of economic governance.
This BBC article notes more generally the evolution in education delivery (and some of the unique advantages of IMF involvement) and talks about some of the challenges. Malaysia is not exactly a laggard in online education delivery either, and I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing from the kids in my extended family.
Personally, I think its all to the good, though I lack the imagination and foresight to see exactly where this will take us. It will certainly be an interesting journey.