The Real MOOC Revolution

Plucking geniuses from the slums of Mongolia:

How does a student from a country in which a third of the population is nomadic, living in round white felt tents called gers on the vast steppe, ace an M.I.T. course even though nothing like this is typically taught in Mongolian schools? The answer has to do with Battushig’s extraordinary abilities, of course, but also with the ambitions of his high-school principal. Enkhmunkh Zurgaanjin, the principal of the Sant School, was the first Mongolian to graduate from M.I.T., in 2009, and he has tried since then to bring science and technology labs to his students.

Note a few important preconditions:

  1. Incredible ability
  2. Internet connection
  3. Mentor
  4. MOOC

The first one is in abundance all over the world. This is the resource that lies untapped among billions of people. The second is the revolution, really. The third means that there needs to be a social infrastructure before genius can be unlocked. This takes time to build.

And the MOOC is the catalyst.

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