Davidson, edX, College Board To Develop Online Courses For AP Students

Davidson College in North Carolina has teamed up with online education platform provider edX and the College Board to develop online courses for students in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The college plans to provide AP teachers and their students with access to a suite of online instructional modules to improve educational outcomes in calculus, physics and macroeconomics.

Professors at Davidson College will present a new blended learning model that will use exam data to pinpoint challenging concepts and then it will develop and present concept-based resources using the edX platform for teachers and students, Davidson College said in a statement.

"We are thrilled to join forces with edX and College Board to provide AP teachers and students with effective, rigorous AP curricula that improves student learning, energizes teachers and exceeds the expectations of highly selective colleges," Davidson College President Carol Quillen said in a statement. "This project serves as a scalable model within the evolving education landscape as schools, teachers, organizations and families strive to make educational opportunity real for all of our kids."

Under the partnership agreement, edX will provide its learning platform and tools for the development of online curricular units that are creative, rigorous and adaptable to different classroom contexts. The units will enable students and teachers to address challenging concepts in AP high school courses by blending online learning with classroom discussion and practice.

The Davidson College faculty, who have written and graded AP exams and led AP summer workshops for high school teachers and teach in these core subjects, will be guiding the development of content.

In addition, the faculty will work with high school AP instructors who will help to produce and evaluate the content, along with edX technologists and experts from College Board's test development committees who will support development of the curricula to incorporate online and blended components.

Davidson College plans to develop the units over the 2013-2014 academic year, pilot them in collaboration with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and then make them more widely available online through the edX platform and the AP Central website.

These lessons will be used by high school teachers in their classes or teachers can assign them as homework. Students who want to learn independently will be able to access these lessons online on the edX platform, according to Tamar Lewin of The New York Times.

"About 5 to 10 percent of our learners are high school students, and based on our experience with them, videos of 7-8 minutes long get the highest engagement," Agarwal said. "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 gamelike exercises, to make up the learning sequence."

The AP courses and the exams given in May offer a growing number of high school students college-level work and the possibility of earning college credit.

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