To learn a bit more about this initiative, we sat down with Elina Hu, a Program Manager here at edX that has been working on this project.
What is the edX high school initiative?
Elina Hu: We heard from both instructors and students that there is a large gap between what you learn in high school and actually being ready for college. EdX wants to help bridge that ‘readiness gap’ and we introduced quite a few new courses that we hope will help with that. We worked with our partner institutions to provide courses that cover a variety of subjects and levels. For example, we’ll have math courses spanning from basic algebra to calculus.
Everybody involved has been really excited about this initiative and it’s been very fulfilling to work with all of our partners to make this high impact initiative happen.
Why is this initiative important to you?
EH: My main motivation for getting involved in this initiative comes from my own experience transitioning from high school to college. I grew up in a small town – Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I went to a great high school, but they didn’t offer many AP courses. There were a couple covering literature and history, but none in the maths and sciences. As a result, I really felt like I wasn’t being challenged enough, especially in the STEM subjects.
So, I decided to study for a few of the AP exams on my own. For example, my high school offered Calculus, though the curriculum timing didn’t match up with the AP exam. AP exams are in early May while our school year went through early June. That month of material made up almost half of the AP exam. While I did try to study ahead, I wasn’t able to prepare fully on my own and I barely passed the exam.
Fast forward a little bit, and everything turned out all right. I was lucky enough to be accepted into MIT. However, during my freshman year at MIT, I still felt pretty behind. The courses at MIT were so much more in depth, so much more advanced and at a much faster pace than I was prepared for. Many of my peers who came from elite high schools had already learned a lot of the material from the AP courses they had taken before coming to MIT. I had a lot of catching up to do my freshman year, and it was really challenging.
That’s why I’m so passionate about this initiative. I’m incredibly excited that edX will provide more opportunities to students who don’t have access to advanced resources or AP courses at their schools. From my own personal experience, I believe that these courses can really make a world of difference and set students up for success.
By Shelby Stack