An Online Learning Tradition From High School Through College: Meet Arjun

Arjun has been taking online courses on edX since 8th grade. It’s become a tradition to take a new course every summer.

Now that he’s in college, Arjun uses online courses to explore career paths and continue to learn more about topics he’s interested in—most recently, how contract law affects our understanding of racial dynamics in America.

What edX course or program did you take and what were your goals in taking it?

I took Michael Sandel’s course on Justice on a bit of a whim; I had mainly focused on STEM throughout school and sought to use edX as a way of pursuing my passion for learning beyond the school year. Since I started and fell in love with RICEx’s AP Biology sequence in 8th grade, it’s become a bit of a tradition for me to try to take an edX course every summer so that I can gain knowledge in a new subject.

How was your experience learning online?

The edX platform is incredibly versatile and allowed me to vary my pace as I progressed through the course materials. The lectures were recorded into very digestible chunks, and the additional sequences with the shorter videos curated towards an online audience and discussion boards allowed me to engage with others from around the world and debate some of the deepest moral questions. I almost felt as if I were more a part of the classroom’s community than even some of the in-person classes I took at college

How has your learning impacted your career, life, or community?

Since I started college, I’ve been struggling to find the right career path and major for me because I don’t want to restrict myself to one subject, yet at the same time I don’t want to spread myself too thin. With edX’s self-paced courses, there are no limits to how much I can learn nor where and when I can learn.

How do you plan to use your learning in the future? What’s next for you?

I plan on continuing my tradition of online coursework to keep picking up new knowledge. I recently began Charles Fried’s course on Contract Law after listening to The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah reflect on the broken social contract between the Black community and the rest of society in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. I hope to learn more about the theoretical underpinnings of the social contract and how it affects our understanding of the racial dynamics in America.

What advice would you give new edX students?

When you’re thinking about what to take as your first course, go for something you wouldn’t be able to learn elsewhere. edX is a place where you can experiment as much as you want with your learning; make the most of the opportunity to try something completely new. No matter what happens, you will always gain knowledge that you didn’t have before.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience learning on edX?

After having experienced Zoom University first hand due to college shutdowns induced by COVID-19, I know that universities can do much better to implement virtual learning, and I think that edX is capable of bringing online education to the next level, perhaps even to something beyond the current education system. With remote work becoming the new normal, edX is in a unique position to revolutionize education for students around the world.

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