Arno Smets winner of first international edX Prize for online education
This year, the first ever edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions to Online Teaching and Learning was awarded in recognition of the dedication and contributions of over 850 MOOC instructors. There were eleven nominees for the prize. Anant Agarwal, Edx CEO and MIT Professor, said the following about Arno Smets: 'Arno Smets' online Solar Energy course is comprehensive and challenging, but has been designed for students of all levels. The course makes a significant contribution to a more sustainable world, and has already reached more than 150,000 people across the globe. This is evidence of his dedication to making education accessible to everyone - which is also the mission of edX.'
Anka Mulder, TU Delft vice-president, responsible for education: 'Arno is an outstanding researcher and instructor. Thanks to his drive and enthusiasm, the Solar Energy MOOC has become a resounding international success. Quite soon after it was launched, the MOOC was translated into Arabic, further consolidating the position of the Electrical Sustainable Energy department internationally as a leading education and research group in the field of solar energy.'
Through the Solar Energy MOOC, TU Delft gives students from all over the world the opportunity to gain knowledge relating to solar energy systems and apply that knowledge in practice. One of the subjects covered by the MOOC is Photovoltaics (PV), a technology with which sunlight can be converted into electricity using semiconducting materials. Arno Smets on the Solar Energy MOOC: ‘TU Delft has a worldwide reputation in fundamental research into new, inexpensive PV technologies with high energy yields and in demonstrating the numerous potential applications of PV systems. TU Delft is the first university to offer a solar-energy course to a worldwide audience.’
TU Delft offers online MOOC courses on the edX platform. EdX is a non-profit platform for online education, which universities such as MIT and Harvard have been using since 2012 to make education accessible to everyone with access to the internet, no matter where they are in the world. Anyone can follow the courses free of charge, regardless of prior education and without an entrance test.