People Should Find A Safe Storm Shelter During Thunderstorm

Storm Shelters in OKC

Tuesday June 5, 2001 marked the start of an extremely fascinating time in the annals of my cherished Houston. Tropical storm Allison, that early summer daytime came to see. The thunderstorm went rapidly, although there was Tuesday. Friday, afterward arrived, and Allison returned. This time going slowly, this time in the north. The thunderstorm became still. Thousands of people driven from their houses. Only when they might be desired most, several leading hospitals shut. Dozens of important surface roads, and every important highway covered in water that was high.

Yet even prior to the rain stopped, service to others, and narratives of Christian compassion started to be composed. For a couples class, about 75 people had assembled at Lakewood Church among the greatest nondenominational churches in The United States. From time they got ready to depart the waters had climbed so high they were stranded. The facility of Lakewood stayed dry and high at the center of among the hardest hit parts of town. Refugees in the powerful thunderstorm started arriving at their doorstep. Without no advance preparation, and demand of official sanction, those 75 classmates started a calamity shelter that grew to hold over 3,000 customers. The greatest of over 30 refuges that could be established in the height of the thunderstorm.

Where help was doled out to those who’d suffered losses after Lakewood functioned as a Red Cross Service Center. When it became clear that FEMA aid, and Red Cross wouldn’t bring aid enough, Lakewood and Second Baptist joined -Houston to produce an adopt a family plan to greatly help get folks on their feet quicker. In the occasions that followed militaries of Christians arrived in both churches. From all over town, people of economical standing, race, and each and every denomination collected. Wet rotted carpeting were pulled up, sheet stone removed. Piles of clothes donated food and bed clothes were doled out. Elbow grease and cleaning equipment were used to start eliminating traces of the damage.

It would have been an excellent example of practical ministry in a period of disaster, in the event the story stopped here, but it continues. A great many other churches functioned as shelters as well as in the occasions that followed Red Cross Service Centers. Tons of new volunteers, a lot of them Christians put to work, and were put through accelerated training. That Saturday, I used to be trapped in my own, personal subdivision. Particular that my family was safe because I worked in Storm Shelters OKC that was near where I used to live. What they wouldn’t permit the storm to do, is take their demand to give their religion, or their self respect. I saw so a lot of people as they brought gifts of food, clothes and bedclothes, praising the Lord. I saw young kids coming making use of their parents to not give new, rarely used toys to kids who had none.

Leaning On God Through Hard Times

Unity Church of Christianity from a location across town impacted by the storm sent a sizable way to obtain bedding as well as other supplies. A tiny troupe of musicians and Christian clowns requested to be permitted to amuse the kids in the shelter where I served and arrived. We of course promptly taken their offer. The kids were collected by them in a sizable empty space of flooring. They sang, they told stories, balloon animals were made by them. The kids, frightened, at least briefly displaced laughed.

When not occupied elsewhere I did lots of listening. I listened to survivors that were disappointed, and frustrated relief workers. I listened to kids make an effort to take advantage of a scenario they could not comprehend. All these are only the stories I have heard or seen. I am aware that spiritual groups, Churches, and lots of other individual Christians functioned admirably. I do need to thank them for the attempts in disaster. I thank The Lord for supplying them to serve.

I didn’t write its individuals, or this which means you’d feel sorry for Houston. As this disaster unfolded yet what I saw encouraged my beliefs the Lord will provide through our brothers and sisters in religion for us. Regardless how awful your community hits, you the individual Christian can be a part of the remedy. Those blankets you can probably never use, and have stored away mean much to people who have none. You are able to help in the event that you can drive. You are able to help if you’re able to create a cot. It is possible to help in the event that you can scrub a wall. It is possible to help if all you are able to do is sit and listen. Large catastrophes like Allison get lots of focus. However a disaster can come in virtually any size. That is a serious disaster to your family that called it home in case a single household burns. It is going to be generations prior to the folks here forget Allison.

United States Oil and Gas Exploration Opportunities

Firms investing in this sector can research, develop and create, as well as appreciate the edges of a global gas and oil portfolio with no political and economical disadvantages. Allowing regime and the US financial conditions is rated amongst the world and the petroleum made in US is sold at costs that were international. The firms will likely gain as US also has a national market that is booming. Where 500 exploration wells are drilled most of the petroleum exploration in US continues to be concentrated around the Taranaki Basin. On the other hand, the US sedimentary basins still remain unexplored and many show existence of petroleum seeps and arrangements were also unveiled by the investigation data with high hydrocarbon potential. There have already been onshore gas discoveries before including Great south river basins, East Coast Basin and offshore Canterbury.

As interest in petroleum is expected to grow strongly during this interval but this doesn’t automatically dim the bright future expectations in this sector. The interest in petroleum is anticipated to reach 338 PJ per annum. The US government is eager to augment the gas and oil supply. As new discoveries in this sector are required to carry through the national demand at the same time as raise the amount of self reliance and minimize the cost on imports of petroleum the Gas and Oil exploration sector is thought to be among the dawn sectors. The US government has invented a distinctive approach to reach its petroleum and gas exploration targets. It’s developed a “Benefit For Attempt” model for Petroleum and Gas exploration tasks in US.

The “Benefit For Attempt” in today’s analytic thinking is defined as oil reserves found per kilometer drilled. It will help in deriving the estimate of reservations drilled for dollar and each kilometer spent for each investigation. The authorities of US has revealed considerable signs that it’ll bring positive effects of change which will favor investigation of new oil reserves since the price of investigation has adverse effects on investigation task. The Authorities of US has made the information accessible about the oil potential in its study report. Foil of advice in royalty and allocation regimes, and simplicity of processes have enhanced the attractiveness of Petroleum and Natural Gas Sector in the United States.

Petroleum was the third biggest export earner in 2008 for US and the chance to to keep up the growth of the sector is broadly accessible by manners of investigation endeavors that are new. The government is poised to keep the impetus in this sector. Now many firms are active with new exploration jobs in the Challenger Plateau of the United States, Northland East Slope Basin region, outer Taranaki Basin, and Bellona Trough region. The 89 Energy oil and gas sector guarantees foreign investors as government to high increase has declared a five year continuance of an exemption for offshore petroleum and gas exploration in its 2009 budget. The authorities provide nonresident rig operators with tax breaks.

Modern Robot Duct Cleaning Uses

AC systems, and heat, venting collect pollutants and contaminants like mold, debris, dust and bacteria that can have an adverse impact on indoor air quality. Most folks are at present aware that indoor air pollution could be a health concern and increased visibility has been thus gained by the area. Studies have also suggested cleaning their efficacy enhances and is contributory to a longer operating life, along with maintenance and energy cost savings. The cleaning of the parts of forced air systems of heat, venting and cooling system is what’s called duct cleaning. Robots are an advantageous tool raising the price and efficacy facets of the procedure. Therefore, using modern robot duct isn’t any longer a new practice.

A cleaner, healthier indoor environment is created by a clean air duct system which lowers energy prices and increases efficiency. As we spend more hours inside air duct cleaning has become an important variable in the cleaning sector. Indoor pollutant levels can increase. Health effects can show years or up immediately after repeated or long exposure. These effects range from some respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancer that can be deadly or debilitating. Therefore, it’s wise to ensure indoor air quality isn’t endangered inside buildings. Dangerous pollutants that can found in inside can transcend outdoor air pollutants in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Duct cleaning from Air Duct Cleaning Edmond professionals removes microbial contaminants, that might not be visible to the naked eye together with both observable contaminants. Indoor air quality cans impact and present a health hazard. Air ducts can be host to a number of health hazard microbial agents. Legionnaires Disease is one malaise that’s got public notice as our modern surroundings supports the development of the bacteria that has the potential to cause outbreaks and causes the affliction. Typical disorder-causing surroundings contain wetness producing gear such as those in air conditioned buildings with cooling towers that are badly maintained. In summary, in building and designing systems to control our surroundings, we’ve created conditions that were perfect . Those systems must be correctly tracked and preserved. That’s the secret to controlling this disorder.

Robots allow for the occupation while saving workers from exposure to be done faster. Signs of the technological progress in the duct cleaning business is apparent in the variety of gear now available for example, array of robotic gear, to be used in air duct cleaning. Robots are priceless in hard to reach places. Robots used to see states inside the duct, now may be used for spraying, cleaning and sampling procedures. The remote controlled robotic gear can be fitted with practical and fastener characteristics to reach many different use functions.

Video recorders and a closed circuit television camera system can be attached to the robotic gear to view states and operations and for documentation purposes. Inside ducts are inspected by review apparatus in the robot. Robots traveling to particular sections of the system and can move around barriers. Some join functions that empower cleaning operation and instruction manual and fit into little ducts. An useful view range can be delivered by them with models delivering disinfection, cleaning, review, coating and sealing abilities economically.

The remote controlled robotic gear comes in various sizes and shapes for different uses. Of robotic video cameras the first use was in the 80s to record states inside the duct. Robotic cleaning systems have a lot more uses. These devices provide improved accessibility for better cleaning and reduce labor costs. Lately, functions have been expanded by areas for the use of small mobile robots in the service industries, including uses for review and duct cleaning.

More improvements are being considered to make a tool that was productive even more effective. If you determine to have your ventilation, heat and cooling system cleaned, it’s important to make sure all parts of the system clean and is qualified to achieve this. Failure to clean one part of a contaminated system can lead to re-contamination of the entire system.

When To Call A DWI Attorney

Charges or fees against a DWI offender need a legal Sugar Land criminal defense attorney that is qualified dismiss or so that you can reduce charges or the fees. So, undoubtedly a DWI attorney is needed by everyone. Even if it’s a first-time violation the penalties can be severe being represented by a DWI attorney that is qualified is vitally significant. If you’re facing following charges for DWI subsequently the punishments can contain felony charges and be severe. Locating an excellent attorney is thus a job you should approach when possible.

So you must bear in mind that you just should hire a DWI attorney who practices within the state where the violation occurred every state within America will make its laws and legislation regarding DWI violations. It is because they are going to have the knowledge and expertise of state law that is relevant to sufficiently defend you and will be knowledgeable about the processes and evaluations performed to establish your guilt.

As your attorney they are going to look to the evaluations that have been completed at the time of your arrest and the authorities evidence that is accompanying to assess whether or not these evaluations were accurately performed, carried out by competent staff and if the right processes where followed. It isn’t often that a police testimony is asserted against, although authorities testimony also can be challenged in court.

You should attempt to locate someone who specializes in these kind of cases when you start trying to find a DWI attorney. Whilst many attorneys may be willing to consider on your case, a lawyer who specializes in these cases is required by the skilled knowledge needed to interpret the scientific and medical evaluations ran when you had been detained. The first consultation is free and provides you with the chance to to inquire further about their experience in fees and these cases.

Many attorneys will work according into a fee that is hourly or on a set fee basis determined by the kind of case. You may find how they have been paid to satisfy your financial situation and you will have the capacity to negotiate the conditions of their fee. If you are unable to afford to hire an attorney that is private you then can request a court-appointed attorney paid for by the state. Before you hire a DWI attorney you should make sure when you might be expected to appear in court and you understand the precise charges imposed against you.

How Credit Card Works

The credit card is making your life more easy, supplying an amazing set of options. The credit card is a retail trade settlement; a credit system worked through the little plastic card which bears its name. Regulated by ISO 7810 defines credit cards the actual card itself consistently chooses the same structure, size and contour. A strip of a special stuff on the card (the substance resembles the floppy disk or a magnetic group) is saving all the necessary data. This magnetic strip enables the credit card’s validation. The layout has become an important variable; an enticing credit card layout is essential in ensuring advice and its dependability keeping properties.

A credit card is supplied to the user just after a bank approves an account, estimating a varied variety of variables to ascertain fiscal dependability. This bank is the credit supplier. When a purchase is being made by an individual, he must sign a receipt to verify the trade. There are the card details, and the amount of cash to be paid. You can find many shops that take electronic authority for the credit cards and use cloud tokenization for authorization. Nearly all verification are made using a digital verification system; it enables assessing the card is not invalid. If the customer has enough cash to insure the purchase he could be attempting to make staying on his credit limit any retailer may also check.

As the credit supplier, it is as much as the banks to keep the user informed of his statement. They typically send monthly statements detailing each trade procedures through the outstanding fees, the card and the sums owed. This enables the cardholder to ensure all the payments are right, and to discover mistakes or fraudulent action to dispute. Interest is typically charging and establishes a minimal repayment amount by the end of the following billing cycle.

The precise way the interest is charged is normally set within an initial understanding. On the rear of the credit card statement these elements are specified by the supplier. Generally, the credit card is an easy type of revolving credit from one month to another. It can also be a classy financial instrument, having many balance sections to afford a greater extent for credit management. Interest rates may also be not the same as one card to another. The credit card promotion services are using some appealing incentives find some new ones along the way and to keep their customers.

Why Get Help From A Property Management?

One solution while removing much of the anxiety, to have the revenue of your rental home would be to engage and contact property management in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. If you wish to know more and are considering the product please browse the remainder of the post. Leasing out your bit of real property may be real cash-cow as many landlords understand, but that cash flow usually includes a tremendous concern. Night phones from tenants that have the trouble of marketing the house if you own an emptiness just take out lots of the pleasure of earning money off of leases, overdue lease payments which you must chase down, as well as over-flowing lavatories. One solution while removing much of the anxiety, to have the earnings would be to engage a property management organization.

These businesses perform as the go between for the tenant as well as you. The tenant will not actually need to understand who you’re when you hire a property management company. The company manages the day to day while you still possess the ability to help make the final judgements in regards to the home relationships using the tenant. The company may manage the marketing for you personally, for those who are in possession of a unit that is vacant. Since the company is going to have more connections in a bigger market than you’ve got along with the industry than you are doing, you’ll discover your device gets stuffed a whole lot more quickly making use of their aid. In addition, the property management company may care for testing prospective tenants and help prospects move in by partnering with the right home services and moving company. With regards to the arrangement you’ve got, you might nevertheless not be unable to get the last say regarding if a tenant is qualified for the the system, but of locating a suitable tenant, the day-to-day difficulty is not any longer your problem. They’ll also manage the before-move-in the reviews as well as reviews required following a tenant moves away.

It is possible to step back watching the profits, after the the system is stuffed. Communicating will be handled by the company with all the tenant if you have an issue. You won’t be telephoned if this pipe explosions at the center of the night time. Your consultant is called by the tenant in the company, who then makes the preparations that are required to get the issue repaired with a care supplier. You get a phone call a day later or may not know there was an issue before you register using the business. The property management organization may also make your leasing obligations to to get. The company will do what’s required to accumulate if your tenant is making a payment. In certain arrangements, the organization is going to also take-over paying taxation, insurance, and the mortgage on the portion of property. You actually need to do-nothing but appreciate after after all the the invoices are paid, the revenue which is sent your way.

With all the advantages, you’re probably questioning exactly what to employing a property management organization, the downside should be. From hiring one the primary variable that stops some landlords is the price. All these providers will be paid for by you. The price must be weighed by you from the time frame you’ll save time that you may subsequently use to follow additional revenue-producing efforts or just take pleasure in the fruits of your expense work.

Benifits From An Orthodontic Care

Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry centered on the identification and treatment of dental and related facial problems. The outcomes of Norman Orthodontist OKC treatment could be dramatic — an advanced quality of life for a lot of individuals of ages and lovely grins, improved oral health health, aesthetics and increased cosmetic tranquility. Whether into a look dentistry attention is needed or not is an individual’s own choice. Situations are tolerated by most folks like totally various kinds of bite issues or over bites and don’t get treated. Nevertheless, a number people sense guaranteed with teeth that are correctly aligned, appealing and simpler. Dentistry attention may enhance construct and appearance power. It jointly might work with you consult with clearness or to gnaw on greater.

Orthodontic attention isn’t only decorative in character. It might also gain long term oral health health. Right, correctly aligned teeth is not more difficult to floss and clean. This may ease and decrease the risk of rot. It may also quit periodontists irritation that problems gums. Periodontists might finish in disease, that occurs once micro-organism bunch round your house where the teeth and the gums meet. Periodontists can be ended in by untreated periodontists. Such an unhealthiness result in enamel reduction and may ruin bone that surrounds the teeth. Less may be chewed by people who have stings that are harmful with efficacy. A few of us using a serious bite down side might have difficulties obtaining enough nutrients. Once the teeth aren’t aimed correctly, this somewhat might happen. Morsel issues that are repairing may allow it to be more easy to chew and digest meals.

One may also have language problems, when the top and lower front teeth do not arrange right. All these are fixed through therapy, occasionally combined with medical help. Eventually, remedy may ease to avoid early use of rear areas. Your teeth grow to an unlikely quantity of pressure, as you chew down. In case your top teeth do not match it’ll trigger your teeth that are back to degrade. The most frequently encountered type of therapy is the braces (or retainer) and head-gear. But, a lot people complain about suffering with this technique that, unfortunately, is also unavoidable. Sport braces damages, as well as additional individuals have problem in talking. Dental practitioners, though, state several days can be normally disappeared throughout by the hurting. Occasionally annoyance is caused by them. In the event that you’d like to to quit more unpleasant senses, fresh, soft and tedious food must be avoided by you. In addition, tend not to take your braces away unless the medical professional claims so.

It is advised which you just observe your medical professional often for medical examinations to prevent choice possible problems that may appear while getting therapy. You are going to be approved using a specific dental hygiene, if necessary. Dental specialist may look-out of managing and id malocclusion now. Orthodontia – the main specialization of medication – mainly targets repairing chin problems and teeth, your grin as well as thus your sting. Dentist, however, won’t only do chin remedies and crisis teeth. They also handle tender to severe dental circumstances which may grow to states that are risky. You actually have not got to quantify throughout a predicament your life all. See dental specialist San – Direction Posts, and you’ll notice only but of stunning your smile plenty will soon be.

Inaugural fund supports early-stage collaborations between MIT and Jordan

MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), together with the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF), the cultural and social responsibility arm of the Arab Bank, recently created a new initiative to support collaboration with the Middle East. The MIT-Jordan Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation Seed Fund is providing awardees with financial grants up to $30,000 to cover travel, meeting, and workshop expenses, including in-person visits to build cultural and scientific connections between MIT and Jordan. MISTI and AHSF recently celebrated the first round of awardees in a virtual ceremony held in Amman and the United States.

The new grant is part of the Global Seed Funds (GSF), MISTI’s annual grant program that enables participating teams to collaborate with international peers, either at MIT or abroad, to develop and launch joint research projects. Many of the projects funded lead to additional grant awards and the development of valuable long-term relationships between international researchers and MIT faculty and students.

Since MIT’s first major collaboration in the Middle East in the 1970s, the Institute has deepened its connection and commitment to the region, expanding to create the MIT-Arab World program. The MIT-Jordan Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation Seed Fund enables the MIT-Arab World program to move forward on its key objectives: build critical cultural and scientific connections between MIT and the Arab world; develop a cadre of students who have a deep understanding of the Middle East; and bring tangible value to the partners in the region.

Valentina Qussisiya, CEO of the foundation, shared the importance of collaboration between research institutes to improve and advance scientific research. She highlighted the role of AHSF in supporting science and researchers since 1982, emphasizing, “The partnership with MIT through the MISTI program is part of AHSF commitment toward this role in Jordan and hoped-for future collaborations and the impact of the fund on science in Jordan.”

The new fund, open to both Jordanian and MIT faculty, is available to those pursuing research in the following fields: environmental engineering; water resource management; lean and modern technologies; automation; nanotechnology; entrepreneurship; nuclear engineering; materials engineering; energy and thermal engineering; biomedical engineering, prostheses, computational neuroscience, and technology; social and management sciences; urban studies and planning; science, technology, and society; innovation in education; Arabic language automation; and food security and sustainable agriculture.

Philip S. Khoury, faculty director of MISTI’s MIT-Arab World program and Ford International Professor of History and associate provost at MIT, explained that the winning projects all deal with critical issues that will benefit both MIT and Jordan, both on- and off-campus. “Beyond the actual faculty collaboration, these projects will bring much value to the hands-on education of MIT and Jordanian students and their capacity to get to know one another as future leaders in science and technology,” he says.

This year, the MIT-Jordan Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation Seed Fund received numerous high-quality proposals. Applications were reviewed by MIT and Jordanian faculty and selected by a committee of MIT faculty. There were six winning projects in the inaugural round:

  • Low-Cost Renewable-Powered Electrodialysis Desalination and Drip Irrigation: Amos Winter (MIT principal investigator) and Samer Talozi (international collaborator)
  • iPSC and CRISPR Gene Editing to Study Rare Diseases: Ernest Fraenkel (MIT principal investigator) and Nidaa Ababneh (international collaborator)
  • Use of Distributed Low-Cost Sensor Networks for Air Quality Monitoring in Amann: Jesse Kroll (MIT principal investigator) and Tareq Hussein (international collaborator)
  • Radiation Effects on Medical Devices Made by 3D Printing: Ju Li (MIT principal investigator) and Belal Gharaibeh (international collaborator)
  • Superprotonic Conductivity in Metal-Organic Frameworks for Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells: Mircea Dinca (MIT principal investigator) and Kyle Cordova (international collaborator)
  • Mapping Urban Air Quality Using Mobile Low-cost Sensors and Geospatial Techniques: Sarah Williams (MIT principal investigator) and Khaled Hazaymeh (international collaborator)

The goal of these funded projects is for researchers and their students to form meaningful professional partnerships across cultures and leave a lasting impact upon the scientific communities in Jordan and at MIT.

“[The fund will] enhance the future career prospects of emerging scholars from both countries,” said awardee Professor Kyle Cordova, executive director for scientific research at Royal Scientific Society and assistant to Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan for scientific affairs. “Our young scholars will gain a unique perspective of the influence of different cultures on scientific investigation that will help them to function effectively in a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment.”

With the HUMANS project, a message that space is for everyone

When the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft launched in 1977, they each carried a Golden Record, a special project spearheaded by astrophysicist Carl Sagan, in addition to the scientific instruments necessary for their mission to explore the outer reaches of our solar system. Part time capsule, part symbolic ambassador of goodwill, the Golden Record comprises sounds, images, music, and greetings in 59 languages, providing a snapshot of life on Earth for the edification of any intelligent extraterrestrial beings the spacecraft might encounter.

Today, while Voyager 1 and 2 hurtle on through interstellar space more than 14 billion and 12 billion miles away, respectively, the Golden Record and the iconic etching on its cover has inspired a new student-run initiative, the Humanity United with MIT Art and Nanotechnology in Space (HUMANS) project, which aims to send a message that hits a little closer to home: that space is for everyone.

“We want to invite the world to submit a message to our project website — either text or audio, or both! — sharing what space means to them and to humanity in their native languages,” says project co-founder Maya Nasr, a graduate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “Our goal is to use art and nanotechnology to create a symbol of unity that promotes global representation in space and brings awareness to the need for expanded access to the space sector worldwide.”

Nasr and her fellow HUMANS project co-founder Lihui Lydia Zhang ’21, a graduate of MIT’s Technology Policy Program, are collecting submissions this summer into the fall semester via a submission portal on their website, humans.mit.edu. Taking inspiration from One.MIT, a project to etch more than 270,000 names from the MIT community on a 6-inch wafer, they have partnered with MIT.nano to etch both text and audio waveforms onto a 6-inch disk.

Finally, in collaboration with the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) at the MIT Media Lab, this new “record of our voices” will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) on a future mission.

For both Nasr and Zhang, the philosophy “space for all” is personal. The two bonded over their shared experience as international students whose own passion for space brought them to MIT: Nasr grew up in Lebanon, while Zhang grew up in China. In their journeys in the space sector, they have both faced constant challenges and struggles that limited them from fully contributing their learning and passion.

These challenges generated a shared frustration, but more importantly, a vision that space should be more accessible and representative for more people around the world. As classmates in 16.891 (Space Policy Seminar) with Professor Dava Newman, they came across an open call for proposals for developing suborbital and ISS payloads from the SEI. Nasr and Zhang put their heads together to create their proposal for the HUMANS project.

“The International Space Station is one of the few avenues that represents international cooperation in space, but there are still so many countries around the world that aren’t included in that representation,” says Zhang. “The HUMANS project won’t solve this problem, but we hope it will be a small step forward to help us advocate for expanding global access to space.”

In addition to Nasr and Zhang, HUMANS project collaborators include faculty advisor Jeffrey Hoffman, professor of the practice in aeronautics and astronautics; advisor Ariel Ekblaw, director of SEI; website developer and rising senior Claire Cheng; Xin Lu and Sean Auffinger from SEI; Professor Craig Carter from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE); and Georgios Varnavides, a graduate student in DMSE.

To participate in the HUMANS project, visit humans.mit.edu to submit a text and/or audio message. Messages must follow project guidelines to be included on the final disk that will be sent into space.

Letter from President Reif: A new future for edX

To the members of the MIT community,

I write to share important news about the future of edX, the nonprofit that MIT and Harvard launched together in 2012 to offer the world an open-source online learning platform for university-level courses.

I will begin with the news and then offer some context and detail.

The news

After a thorough and thoughtful process, and with the support of the senior leadership of MIT and Harvard, the edX board has agreed to sell the assets of edX to 2U, Inc., a publicly traded company that provides a platform for lifelong learning.

Through this acquisition, edX will become a 2U subsidiary as a “public benefit company,” which will allow edX’s long-standing commitment to the public good to be embedded in its new charter. The overall agreement actively sustains the mission of edX through a series of provisions that protect learner data, ensure free and low-cost access to courses, preserve choice for partner universities and faculty, and continue the open-source platform Open edX.

The proceeds of the transaction – $800 million – will flow into a nonprofit entity with a refreshed educational mission and a new name. Governed by MIT and Harvard, this nonprofit will steward and enhance the Open edX platform and explore promising new ideas for making online learning more effective, engaging and personalized.

Why this move now?

In broad strokes, Covid drove an explosion in remote learning, which spurred huge investments into edX’s commercial competitors. This put edX, as a nonprofit, at a financial disadvantage. This new path recognizes this reality and offers a solution that allows edX to continue to support and maintain the key aspects of its mission.

I know this news is a surprise and will take some time to absorb. So I would like to provide some background and share the process behind this decision.

How edX began and grew

Nine years ago, when massive open online courses (MOOCs) were just becoming popular, we joined forces with Harvard to seize the opportunity to launch edX. Building on the spirit of MIT OpenCourseWare, we set out together to provide a clear public good: an open-source, nonprofit platform that we and other institutions could use to teach our own students and to provide free, interactive college-level course content for learners around the world.

Since then, with leadership from edX CEO and MIT professor Anant Agarwal and his team, edX has engaged 160 partner institutions, reached more than 39 million learners across nearly every nation, exceeded 110 million course enrollments and pioneered new online credentials including the MicroMasters.

Key aspects of edX’s founding vision have also become signature features of the educational landscape. By its very existence, edX established the expectation that online learning should include free access to rigorous college course content. edX also helped pioneer the idea of aggregating courses from many institutions.

All of us can take pride in what edX has accomplished, including – and perhaps most significant – edX’s role in helping create a thriving market for online learning.

A changing landscape

In recent years, as global demand for online learning rose sharply, the field was already drawing intense interest from investors. When Covid hit, and remote learning became the dominant avenue for delivering education everywhere, the commercial platform companies became magnets for outside investment on a startling scale.

This infusion of funds is fueling an arms race, in which competitors strive to out-do each other in improving their online platforms, in marketing to learners and in providing financial packages to recruit partner universities to supply course content.  

Observing this trend almost a year ago, the members of the edX board – including senior leaders from both MIT and Harvard – came to see that the scale of the dollars had radically tipped the playing field. As a nonprofit, edX could no longer keep up. So the board began a systematic review of alternative ways to try to sustain edX’s mission in the future.

In the midst of this review last fall, edX received a confidential inquiry from 2U, a well-established publicly traded platform company. (2U already works with MIT: The School of Architecture and Planning, the Sloan School of Management, the Media Lab and CSAIL all offer courses on 2U’s platform.) 2U was interested in a deal with edX.

A new pathway

The offer crystallized the board’s understanding that it was time to stop straining to keep up with supercharged commercial course-aggregation platforms and instead reembrace edX’s role as a channel for influential innovation in online learning.

Seeing the 2U proposal as a promising opening but not yet a finished solution, the board members shared their initial thinking with me and other senior leaders at MIT and Harvard.

I now understand that this path is very much in the best interests of MIT – but the idea took some getting used to. We had never set out to have edX become part of a commercial enterprise. We worked together with the board through a process of due diligence to assess alternatives, including philanthropy or a partnership.

A key concern was how to preserve the privacy of learner data. edX has long set a standard for protecting learner data; giving up those protections would be unacceptable. We knew it was also crucial to make sure faculty could choose the platform their courses would run on.

At the same time, the transformation of the landscape was undeniable. Finding a new path forward was a must – and focusing on educational innovation felt obviously right.

It took several months of reflection and negotiation to work through our questions and confirm that the board had indeed arrived at the best option. A great frustration through this period was that because 2U is a publicly traded company and therefore subject to securities regulations, we were legally prohibited from consulting our communities broadly. Given that, we were especially grateful to tap the wisdom of a small group of faculty leaders and experts on digital learning and data privacy.

Through this process, we were pleased to find a path agreeable to both founding universities, to edX and to 2U: a future for edX as a public benefit company that will pair the resources of a for-profit player with a formal mission to serve the public good.

Late last week, Provost Marty Schmidt and I met with a number of faculty leaders to share the high-level details and hear their thoughts.

Which brings us back to today’s announcement.

The transaction we announce today

Pending approval by the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General and other government regulators, the transaction will have two major outcomes:

1. As a subsidiary of 2U, edX will become a “public benefit company.” The public benefit designation emerged about a decade ago as a way for a for-profit company to commit, in its charter, to focus on achieving one or more public benefits in addition to serving its shareholders. Familiar examples of public benefit corporations include Patagonia, Kickstarter, Ben and Jerry’s and, close to home, The Engine.

In this new incarnation, edX will operate under a set of guidelines that will preserve its mission to make rigorous university-level courses accessible and free for learners everywhere, and that also reflect MIT and Harvard’s standards and values around learner data.

Joining 2U will allow edX to offer learners a broad new array of benefits and services and to provide faculty members and universities with much greater reach and more options for how to share their classes, without restricting them to any one platform.
 
2. 2U will provide $800 million to fund a nonprofit governed by MIT and Harvard that will focus on reinventing digital learning. Except for funds edX will use to repay loans from MIT and Harvard, the proceeds from this transaction will flow directly to the nonprofit – not to Harvard and not to MIT.

Freed from competing in the course-aggregation race and equipped with these significant new resources, the nonprofit will have the power to do what edX could not: invest at the necessary scale to sustain Open edX as a fresh, vital, open-source learning platform for the world, and help tackle the next great research challenges in online learning.

It could, for example, invest in the potential of AI and other tools to make online learning more responsive and personalized to the individual learner; I believe this is a critical path to meet the needs of people that online learning often leaves behind, including students and workers of any age seeking the skills to keep pace with a shifting economy. We also expect the nonprofit to collaborate with and learn from organizations that have a direct, hands-on understanding of the learning needs of various communities.

The nonprofit’s detailed mission, name, research and activities will be developed following consultation with the faculty of both universities and edX partner institutions. I will work together with the chair of the faculty to develop a plan for engaging faculty on these important matters.

We also hope that it will be possible for faculty and other stakeholders to help shape the nonprofit’s agenda by applying to it for research grants. Its overall mandate, however, is already clear: to create a new public good commensurate with the legacy of edX.

As soon as we can, we will share more about how faculty will be engaged in contributing to the nonprofit’s focus and aspirations.

Learning more

Given the scale of these changes, I expect you will have many questions.

As a starting point, I urge you to read the complete story on MIT News, which summarizes the commitments at the heart of the arrangement that preserve the edX mission. There is also an FAQ that offers more detail.

As we begin this exciting new chapter, I would like to express my deep appreciation to edX CEO Anant Agarwal and the entire edX team for nearly a decade of creativity, perseverance and accomplishment against the odds, and to share my great admiration and gratitude for all the MIT faculty, instructors and staff who have built so many compelling courses on MITx.

I also want to recognize the exceptional efforts of everyone who helped define and improve this new path, including the MIT members of the edX board and their Harvard counterparts. Their thoughtful stewardship and creative thinking have been indispensable.

For me – and perhaps for many of you and our Harvard colleagues who envisioned, shaped and nurtured edX along with us – turning this corner is naturally bittersweet.

Yet at the same time, I am extraordinarily proud of edX and the impact it has had on learning, I am convinced that this decision represents the best path for MIT and I am extremely enthusiastic about what the future holds, for MIT, for online learning and for education as a whole.

With high hopes for how our community can continue to help advance the frontiers of online learning,

L. Rafael Reif

Is Acupuncture Beneficial?

Acupuncture treatment is popular due to its scientific benefits. This Chinese wisdom can contribute to your overall well-being. You can consider best acupuncture in Frisco Tx to heal different types of pain. In addition to pain, it can treat anxiety, sinus congestion, nausea, depression, stress, and insomnia. The treatment process will use hair-thin needles. You might experience minimal pain when the needles will be inserted. However, you will love the outcome. They will insert the needles to those points of your body that create a pressure sensation. Also, they might heat the needles before inserting them. After the treatment, you will feel energized and active.  They sterilize the needles before inserting them to prevent an infection.

There are many benefits of acupuncture treatment. It will improve the quality of your life by managing your pain and stress. You can expect mental, emotional, and physical benefits from this treatment. If you want to know more about the health benefits, you can have a look at the following.

Boosts Your Mood

Stress has become a part of our lives. Personal and professional issues have made life complex. We all feel stressed and depressed at a certain point in life. You can consider acupuncture treatment to treat the condition. The inserted needles will release endorphins. Endorphins will help to lift your mood.

Cures Pain

Acupuncture is known for its pain-relieving ability. If you are suffering from any type of pain, you can give it a try. The pain-reductive effect will eliminate the pain and discomfort from your overall body. It can treat chronic pain as well.

Improves Your Sleep Quality

Sleeplessness is common nowadays. Our busy schedule keeps our brain alert. Therefore, we cannot fall asleep fast. Acupuncture will enable your body to generate more melatonin. As a result, you can sleep fast and for long hours. Also, the quality of sleep will be better.

Strengthens Your Immunity

Viruses and bacteria are everywhere in the surrounding. Different types of pollutions have impacted our immunity adversely. Now our immunity system needs to work hard to protect us from infections. With poor and compromised immunity, we will be prone to diseases or infections. Acupuncture will strengthen your immunity and enable you to stay healthy.

Keeps You Energetic

In the current condition, we want to be multitasking. However, we do not have the energy to be active throughout the day. The acupuncture treatment can balance your body’s energy. As it will stimulate natural pathways, you can expect increased stamina and positive thinking.

Makes Your Heart Healthy

Acupuncture can work better than any medicine when it comes to heart health. It will make your cardiovascular system healthy. It will control your blood pressure as well.

These are the key benefits of acupuncture treatment. It will enable you to live healthily and think positively. Also, it will improve your digestion and help you to fight infections and allergies. Acupuncture in Frisco Tx can help all those who do not want to rely on drugs to treat specific health conditions. However, you will have to consider an experienced and licensed acupuncturist to find the best treatment for your physical and mental issues.

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FAQs on agreement to sell edX to 2U, Inc. and fund nonprofit to reimagine digital learning

This set of FAQs offers information about today’s announcement of a transaction to sell edX as a public benefit company while funding a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the impact of digital learning. 

General questions 

  1. What is MIT announcing today? 

With the support of the senior leadership of MIT and Harvard University, the edX board has agreed to sell the assets of edX to 2U, Inc., a publicly traded company that provides a platform for life-long learning.

Through this acquisition, edX — the nonprofit MIT and Harvard launched together in 2012 to offer the world an open-source online learning platform for university-level courses — will become a 2U subsidiary as a “public benefit company,” which will allow edX’s long-standing commitment to the public good to be embedded in its new charter. The overall agreement actively sustains the mission of edX through a series of provisions that protect learner data, ensure free and low-cost access to courses, preserve choice for partner universities and faculty, and continue the open-source platform.

The proceeds of the transaction — $800 million — will flow into a remaining nonprofit entity with a refreshed educational mission and a new name. Governed by MIT and Harvard, this nonprofit will steward and enhance the Open edX platform and explore promising new ways to make online learning more effective, engaging, and personalized.

  1. Is the transaction complete? 

No. The transaction is expected to close this fall, subject to customary closing conditions and certain regulatory and governmental approvals, including approval by the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General.

  1. What will happen to edX? 

If the transaction is approved as proposed, edX’s assets will be transferred to a public benefit company owned by 2U. As a subsidiary of 2U named edX, it will contain the current portfolio of edX course offerings, partner arrangements, and base of users. The public benefit designation emerged about a decade ago as a way for a for-profit company to commit, in its charter, to focus on achieving one or more public benefits in addition to serving its shareholders. Familiar examples of public benefit corporations include Patagonia, Kickstarter, Ben and Jerry’s, and The Engine. In this new incarnation, edX will operate under a set of guidelines that will preserve its mission.

  1. What will happen to MITx? 

MITx — the Institute’s portfolio of massive open online courses (MOOCs) — will endure. Faculty will have several options for their MITx classes: continue to offer them on edX; move them to a new platform we are referring to as MITx Online; explore options like OpenCourseWare or the Open Learning Library; or remove them altogether. MIT Open Learning will work with faculty to help them understand their options in more detail.

  1. What is MITx Online?

MIT Open Learning is building a new world-facing platform based on Open edX to serve as a platform for MITx MOOCs. We are referring to it as MITx Online. Unlike edX, MITx Online will not aggregate content generated by other institutions; it will serve as a home for MOOCs from MITx only.

The Transaction 

  1. What prompted edX to do this now? 

Even before the pandemic, online learning was the subject of intense interest from investors. This past year, as remote learning became the dominant avenue for delivering education everywhere, commercial educational technology companies and platforms became magnets for outside investment. This infusion of funds gave them an advantage in improving their online platforms, marketing their content to learners, and signing up new partner universities.

Almost a year ago, recognizing this disruptive transformation of the market, the edX board, which includes representatives from both MIT and Harvard, began to explore alternatives for sustaining edX’s mission into the future. One of the options edX considered was a transaction with 2U, a publicly traded educational technology company with many partner institutions, including MIT and Harvard. Detailed discussions between the edX board and 2U began in earnest in February of this year.

  1. Why not just let edX continue as long as possible in its current nonprofit form, with the hope that another solution will present itself?  

The edX board explored other options with the assistance of an outside investment advisor and nonprofit attorneys, and ultimately determined that those options were not as beneficial to edX, its learners, or its partner institutions as the transaction with 2U. The transaction with 2U allows edX, MIT, and Harvard to preserve much of the public good of edX and presents an opportunity to build on that success with a new initiative focused on shaping the future of digital learning. 

  1. Is edX selling because a nonprofit model simply isn’t viable in the online learning space? 

As currently structured and funded, edX does not have the resources to compete in the rapidly evolving for-profit online learning marketplace as a platform that aggregates course content from other institutions. For several years, online learning has been the subject of growing investment by commercial firms. The pandemic accelerated that trend, with increasing investment enabling those companies to improve their online platforms and spend heavily on marketing to learners and universities.

  1. Why wasn’t a transaction presented and discussed in an open setting? 

A standard condition of these types of transactions — involving a publicly traded company subject to securities regulations — is that the parties must maintain confidentiality while discussions are ongoing. Early in 2021, MIT leadership began consulting with the Executive Committee of the Corporation and then with MIT and Harvard faculty who have expertise in digital learning and data privacy. President L. Rafael Reif and Provost Martin Schmidt recently met with faculty leaders to brief them on the negotiations.

  1. Will MIT profit from the transaction? 

No. Except for funds edX will use to repay a recent line of credit from MIT and Harvard, the full proceeds from the transaction will flow directly to the nonprofit the universities will govern together, and not to either university. Over the years, MIT and Harvard have contributed $80 million total ($40 million each) to edX; they will not recoup those funds from the sale.

Because edX is a public charity, the proceeds from its sale can only be distributed for a purpose consistent with edX’s mission, not to compensate those who contributed to the nonprofit. 

  1. Did edX, MIT, and Harvard consider how this sale would affect low-income users? 

Yes. The transaction ensures that edX, as a public benefit corporation operated by 2U, will continue to offer free courses and certificates with modest fees — the current edX model. And the proceeds from the sale present an opportunity to reimagine the existing nonprofit to more effectively address inequities that exist in digital learning. 

  1. How long has this been under consideration? 

Starting last fall, the edX board undertook an assessment of options to continue advancing the edX mission while also supporting its partners and learners. In the fall and winter, edX considered all options and entered into discussions with a number of potential partners. Discussions between 2U and the edX board began in earnest in February 2021. 

2U, Inc.

  1. What is 2U? 

Launched in 2008, 2U is a publicly traded educational technology company that provides colleges and universities a cloud-based platform for their course offerings. It has more than 75 partners, including MIT and Harvard, and hosts and supports more than 500 digital educational offerings. 

  1. Why 2U? 

2U’s mission defines it as “a diverse collection of more than 4,000 individuals who share a common belief in the power of education to transform lives for the better.” That mission resonates deeply with edX, as well as with MIT and Harvard. The provisions the edX board negotiated with 2U allow edX’s mission to be preserved. Among those provisions, which will remain in effect for five years, 2U will:

  • guarantee affordability through the continuation of a free track to audit every course;
  • protect the intellectual property rights of member partners that contribute massive open online courses;
  • ensure that participating colleges and universities may continue under their standing agreements with edX;
  • protect the privacy of individual data for all learners who use the edX platform;
  • work toward launching affordable, stackable, modular bachelor’s degrees built from MicroBachelors programs;
  • participate actively in improving the Open edX code to improve engagement, pedagogy, learning outcomes, and blended learning features;
  • increase the number of courses available in non-English-speaking markets;
  • continue to offer a broad range of courses, across disciplines;
  • provide accessibility features for learners with disabilities;
  • host all courses that a member institution chooses to put on the edX platform; and
  • maintain quality for new courses across all member institutions.

2U has also agreed to limit its use of sensitive individualized information based on learner choice. Basic contact information would be available to 2U for learner communications, and learners will have the option to continue learning with edX or opt out and have all their information, including basic contact data, permanently deleted.

In addition, the proceeds of the transaction will allow the remaining nonprofit MIT and Harvard will govern to pursue new opportunities in digital learning, with a focus on promoting a more personalized learning experience and a commitment to creating learning opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Nonprofit entity 

  1. What is the nonprofit that MIT and Harvard will govern once the transaction is complete? 

The proceeds of the transaction — approximately $800 million — will flow into a remaining nonprofit entity with an updated educational mission and a new name. Governed by MIT and Harvard, this nonprofit will steward and enhance the Open edX platform and explore new ways to make online learning more effective, engaging, and personalized.

The nonprofit will aim to do what edX could not: invest at the necessary scale to sustain Open edX as a fresh, vital, open-source learning platform for the world, and tackle the next great research challenges in online learning. It could, for example, invest in the potential of artificial intelligence to make online learning more responsive and personalized to the individual learner.

The nonprofit’s detailed mission, name, and research program will be developed following consultation with the faculty of both MIT and Harvard, as well as with edX partner institutions. The input of faculty and other stakeholders will help the board of the new nonprofit shape its agenda. Further, the edX partners may be able to engage with the new nonprofit in the future through grant making and partnerships. President Reif will work with the chair of the faculty to develop a plan for engaging MIT faculty in contributing to the new nonprofit’s focus and aspirations. 

edX 

  1. What is edX? 

In 2012, building on the success of MIT OpenCourseWare, MIT and Harvard jointly launched edX, an open-source technology platform for online courses. edX is an independent 501(c)(3) with a board of leaders who have a fiduciary responsibility to edX. 

Universities, including MIT, via MITx, work with faculty to develop courses for the edX platform. Over the last nine years, edX has reached more than 39 million learners and engaged more than 160 partner institutions. Its mission calls on it to increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere; enhance teaching and learning on campus and online; and advance teaching and learning through research. 

  1. Will MIT have any involvement with edX after the deal closes? 

MIT expects to continue to offer MITx courses both on edX as a public benefit subsidiary of 2U and on MITx Online, a new world-facing platform based on Open edX that MIT is creating for MITx MOOCs. MIT will not have an oversight or governance role with edX once the transaction is complete. However, the newly named nonprofit will remain engaged with edX in ensuring it follows the guiding mission and privacy commitments that have been agreed to.

  1. What does this mean for edX employees? 

2U plans to retain all current edX employees who do not remain with the nonprofit continuing under Harvard and MIT’s leadership. Staff will remain in their current roles and teams for the immediate future as 2U determines the ideal timeline and plan for bringing the two organizations together.

  1. What does this mean for edX CEO Anant Agarwal?

Anant Agarwal will continue to lead edX as the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office conducts its review of the transaction. Professor Agarwal remains a tenured member of the MIT faculty and a leader in his field. In the months ahead, he will have many options and opportunities to consider, including potentially with the public benefit company edX or the nonprofit MIT and Harvard will govern.

Impact for edX stakeholders 

  1. What will change and what will stay the same? 

The experience for edX learners should remain largely unchanged. They will retain access to their credentials, a free audit track, and a commitment to data privacy. Faculty will have several options for their MITx classes: continue to offer them on edX; move them to a new platform we are referring to as MITx Online; explore options like OpenCourseWare or the Open Learning Library; or remove them altogether. MIT Open Learning will work with faculty to help them understand their options in more detail.

  1. What does this mean for MIT faculty whose classes are on edX? 

Faculty will retain all existing intellectual property agreements for all of their course content. Those who choose to continue to offer their courses on edX after the transaction closes will be able to decide what courses to offer and when, and will continue to control all decisions around course design. Those who choose not to offer their courses on edX will be able to move them to MITx Online — a new world-facing platform MIT is creating for MITx MOOCs — explore options like OpenCourseWare or the Open Learning Library; or request removal for any or no reason. All pricing decisions for MITx courses on the edX platform will continue to be made by MIT.

  1. What does this mean for MITx learners? 

The user experience will be very similar, and learners will retain access to their credentials, a free audit track, and a commitment to data privacy.

  1. Will learners have to pay to take courses with 2U after the transaction? 

edX as a public benefit company will continue to offer free courses for at least five years. 2U, which will own and operate edX, has also committed to continue to make available courses for which full participation is available at low cost, and make available a free audit track for every course. Individual faculty who wish to continue to offer a free audit track for their courses on edX will have the option to do so. Finally, any pricing decisions will continue to be made together with the institution where a course originated.

  1. Does MIT still plan to use the Open edX platform? 

Yes. The nonprofit MIT and Harvard will govern together will continue to own and advance Open edX. In fact, Open edX will serve as the basis for a new world-facing platform we are referring to as MITx Online, for MITx MOOCs.

  1. What does this mean for partner edX institutions? 

Under the terms of the transaction, partner edX universities will have the option of continuing to offer their courses under the same terms as their current agreements.

Data Privacy 

  1. What steps have been taken to protect the data of edX users? 

Protections for learner data were central to the negotiation. 2U has agreed to data protections for everyone who has used edX to date as well as data-usage standards that will protect new edX users. 2U will not use the individual data edX has accumulated on courses taken, grades earned, and other sensitive individualized information, unless learners opt in to sharing that personal data. Learners can opt out at any time.

  1. What data will 2U receive as part of the transfer of edX? 

Basic contact information for learners, such as their names and emails as well as information about courses taken — though not about performance — will be available to 2U as part of the transfer of edX assets. Even then, learners will be offered the option to opt out and have all of their information permanently deleted.

MIT and Harvard agree to transfer edX to ed-tech firm 2U

MIT and Harvard University have announced a major transition for edX, the nonprofit organization they launched in 2012 to provide an open online platform for university courses: edX’s assets are to be acquired by the publicly-traded education technology company 2U, and reorganized as a public benefit company under the 2U umbrella.  

The transaction is structured to ensure that edX continues in its founding mission, and features a wide array of protections for edX learners, partners, and faculty who contribute courses.

In exchange, 2U will transfer $800 million to a nonprofit organization, also led by MIT and Harvard, to explore the next generation of online education. Backed by these substantial resources, the nonprofit will focus on overcoming persistent inequities in online learning, in part through exploring how to apply artificial intelligence to enable personalized learning that responds and adapts to the style and needs of the individual learner.

The nonprofit venture will be overseen by a board appointed by MIT and Harvard, and its future work will draw on ideas from current edX partners, as well as MIT and Harvard faculty.

Celebrating the past, building a new future

In a letter to the MIT community sharing the news, President L. Rafael Reif noted that edX has engaged 160 partner institutions, reached more than 39 million learners, and exceeded 110 million course enrollments. “All of us can take pride in what edX has accomplished, including — and perhaps most significant — edX’s role in helping create a thriving market for online learning,” he wrote.

The transaction announced today was spurred by rapid and profound shifts in that online-learning market over the past 18 months. With the onset of the global pandemic and the accompanying surge in remote learning, publicly-traded ed-tech firms have attracted major investment, making it increasingly challenging for a nonprofit to keep pace.

Almost a year ago, recognizing this disruptive transformation of the market, the edX board began to explore what it would take to sustain edX’s mission in the future.

Reif acknowledged in his letter that the initial expression of interest from 2U “took some getting used to.” But following several months of reflection, debate, and negotiation, he said the parties found an agreeable path: “a future for edX as a public benefit company that will pair the resources of a for-profit player with a formal mission to serve the public good.”

Encoded into law in most states, benefit companies emerged about a decade ago as a legally protected way for companies to commit to the public good. The designation allows a commercial venture to seek to make positive impacts for societal stakeholders while also serving company shareholders. Familiar examples of benefit companies include Patagonia, Kickstarter, and Ben and Jerry’s. MIT’s own innovation fund, The Engine, is also a benefit company.

The future of Open edX

If the deal is approved by state regulators, 2U will pay $800 million for the right to adopt edX as a subsidiary and take on the current portfolio of edX course offerings, partner arrangements, and base of users.

However, the Open edX open-source software platform, upon which edX and more than 2,000 other learning sites around the world are based, would not be transferred to 2U. The nonprofit would own and enhance Open edX, ensuring its continued wide availability — including its ongoing use by edX.

MIT will continue to offer courses to learners worldwide via edX, as well as on a new platform now known as MITx Online. MIT’s Office of Digital Learning will build and operate MITx Online as a new world-facing platform, based on Open edX, that MIT is creating for MITx MOOCs.

MIT faculty may choose to continue to offer their courses through the new edX after the transaction is completed, or move them to MITx Online.

Under the terms of the transaction, partner edX universities would have the option of continuing to offer their courses under the same terms as their current agreements. The transaction imposes no restrictions on these institutions’ freedom to offer their courses through other means, or to depart edX.

Other protections for learners, partners, and staff

In an array of provisions within the negotiated agreement, 2U has embraced edX’s mission and agreed to data protections for everyone who has used edX to date — more than 39 million learners — as well as data-usage standards that would protect new edX users.

As part of these provisions, 2U has agreed to limit its use of sensitive individualized information based on learner choice. Basic contact information would be available to 2U for learner communications, and learners will have the option to continue learning with edX or opt out and have all their information, including basic contact data, permanently deleted.

Among other agreements as part of the deal, 2U has also committed to:

  • guarantee affordability through the continuation of a free track to audit every course;
  • protect the intellectual property rights of member partners that contribute MOOCs;
  • ensure that participating colleges and universities may continue under their standing agreements with edX;
  • protect the privacy of individual data for all learners who use the edX platform;
  • work toward launching affordable, stackable, modular bachelor’s degrees built from MicroBachelors programs;
  • participate actively in improving the Open edX code to improve engagement, pedagogy, learning outcomes, and blended learning features;
  • increase the number of courses available in non-English-speaking markets;
  • continue to offer a broad range of courses, across disciplines;
  • provide accessibility features for learners with disabilities; and
  • host all courses that a member institution chooses to put on the edX platform.

Finally, 2U plans to retain all current edX employees who do not remain with the nonprofit continuing under Harvard and MIT’s leadership. Staff will remain in their current roles and teams for the immediate future as 2U determines the ideal timeline and plan for bringing the two organizations together.

The transaction was approved by the edX board, as well as governance bodies at MIT and Harvard. It is expected to close this fall, subject to customary closing conditions and certain regulatory and governmental approvals, including approval by the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General.

The launch of a refreshed mission to reimagine learning

As was the case with edX, the resulting nonprofit will continue to be a free-standing organization with a board appointed by MIT and Harvard. However, it will have significantly more funding, and its mission will differ: While edX will continue under 2U as an aggregator of university-level courses, the nonprofit will instead focus on the development of more personalized and responsive learning experiences that can be applied across the educational spectrum — from high school, to community college, to adults trying to create opportunity for themselves in a changing economy.

The nonprofit will invest in research, fund pilots, and promote the adoption of insights across the education spectrum. It will also seek out collaborations and aim to fund local partners to more effectively serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as identify how to most effectively blend digital tools with in-person support to help students learn — particularly those for whom online learning has been more a promise than a reality.

The continuation of a vision

Over its nine years, edX has achieved remarkable success in advancing its vision of making high-quality university courses available to people everywhere. With some 3,000 courses offered, and more than 1.4 million certificates issued to learners, edX has helped build a booming marketplace for college-level content. It has also pioneered formal university credit for some of its offerings, including innovations such as the MicroMasters and MicroBachelors credential programs.

“The willingness of 2U to help us create a unique deal presents exciting possibilities,” says Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s vice president for open learning and the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “It gives us a chance to do something we had aimed to do from the start — create breakthroughs that advance how teaching and learning take place.”

“To be honest, as good as online education has become, it’s still not easy to sit in your kitchen or bedroom and take a college class,” Reif adds. “With this move, the educational nonprofit will develop new tools and techniques to make learning more personal, more meaningful, and easier for people all over the world at any stage in their lives, careers or preparation. That was the road we set out on with edX, and this represents the next stage in that journey.”

How to Find The Best Schools in Tampa Florida?

It is the job of the parents to take the right decision for their kids. One of the main decisions that you have to take is selecting the right school for your child. School happens to play a very vital role in the development and growth of your child. It happens to lay the foundation for a better education and future for sure. Thus, it is crucial that the decision you make turns out to be the right one. If you are looking for the best schools in Tampa Florida, then you have come to the right place. Next, the factors you need to take into consideration have been mentioned for you. So, to know about them, do read on.

Factors to consider to find the best school

It is one of the toughest jobs to find an apt school for your kids. To make the process easy, do take these below mentioned factors into consideration.

Importance of Location                

Location is an important factor when choosing a school for your child. If you choose a school that is far from your home. Then everyday you have a travel a lot of miles to reach the school. Moving to and fro the school will exhaust you child and he/she won’t have the energy to do other things. Travelling will take up a lot of time out of your day. Thus, look for a school that is near your home. There is a lot of advantage of choosing a school that is nearby.

Education system

The next thing that should be in list is the education system of the school. You need to pick a system that suits your child the most. In this way, your child will not feel pressured and will be able to learn everything he/she needs to. The main element of a school is the education system and pattern they provide. Thus, you have to make sure that you are choosing the best. You can learn a lot from a school’s broacher. It holds all the information about the school system and pattern. If you have any question, you can contact them directly as well.

Extracurricular activities

The broacher will also hold information about the different extracurricular activities that the school provides. Enrolling you kid in extracurricular activities is just as important as the education that will be provided. For overall development and improvement, you need to enrol your kid in extracurricular activities or physical activities like different sports. So, when choosing the school also make sure that they provide excellent extracurricular portfolio.

Staff and educators

For a whole chunk of the day, you kid will be guided and protected by non-teaching staff and educators like teachers of the school. So, when selecting a school do ensure that they have helpful, educated, trained and friendly staff and educators. It is essential to know if the staff and educators can provide the support your child needs. Thus, do ask about the staff and educators when looking into a school. You can even go online and read reviews to find out what the school has to offer.

There you have it these were the factors that you need to consider to select the best schools in Tampa Florida. Use the information provided here to your advantage and find the best school for your child.

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Contact US:

Tampa Preparatory School
Address: 727 W Cass St, Tampa, Florida
Phone: (813) 251-8481

A unique collaboration with US Special Operations Command

When General Richard D. Clarke, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), visited MIT in fall 2019, he had artificial intelligence on the mind. As the commander of a military organization tasked with advancing U.S. policy objectives as well as predicting and mitigating future security threats, he knew that the acceleration and proliferation of artificial intelligence technologies worldwide would change the landscape on which USSOCOM would have to act.

Clarke met with Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and after touring multiple labs both agreed that MIT — as a hub for AI innovation — would be an ideal institution to help USSOCOM rise to the challenge. Thus, a new collaboration between the MIT School of Engineering, MIT Professional Education, and USSOCOM was born: a six-week AI and machine learning crash course designed for special operations personnel.

“There has been tremendous growth in the fields of computing and artificial intelligence over the past few years,” says Chandrakasan. “It was an honor to craft this course in collaboration with U.S. Special Operations Command and MIT Professional Education, and to convene experts from across the spectrum of engineering and science disciplines, to present the full power of artificial intelligence to course participants.”

In speaking to course participants, Clarke underscored his view that the nature of threats, and how U.S. Special Operations defends against them, will be fundamentally affected by AI. “This includes, perhaps most profoundly, potential game-changing impacts to how we can see the environment, make decisions, execute mission command, and operate in information-space and cyberspace.”

Due to the ubiquitous applications of AI and machine learning, the course was taught by MIT faculty as well as military and industry representatives from across many disciplines, including electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science, brain and cognitive science, aeronautics and astronautics, and economics.

“We assembled a lineup of people who we believe are some of the top leaders in the field,” says faculty co-organizer of the USSOCOM course and associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, Sertac Karaman. “All of them are able to come in and contribute a unique perspective. This was just meant to be an introduction … but there was still a lot to cover.”

The potential applications of AI, spanning civilian and military uses, are diverse, and include advances in areas like restorative and regenerative medical care, cyber resiliency, natural language processing, computer vision, and autonomous robotics.

A fireside chat with MIT President L. Rafael Reif and Eric Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and former chair and CEO of Google, who is also an MIT innovation fellow, painted a particularly vivid picture of the way that AI will inform future conflicts.

“It’s quite obvious that the cyber wars of the future will be largely AI-driven,” Schmidt told course participants. “In other words, they’ll be very vicious and they’ll be over in about 1 millisecond.”

However, the capabilities of AI represented only one aspect of the course. The faculty also emphasized the ethical, social, and logistical issues inherent in the implementation of AI.

“People don’t know, actually, [that] some existing technology is quite fragile. It can make mistakes,” says Karaman. “And in the Department of Defense domain, that could be extremely damaging to their mission.”

AI is vulnerable to both intentional tampering and attacks as well as mistakes caused by programming and data oversights. For instance, images can be intentionally distorted in ways that are imperceptible to humans, but will mislead AI. In another example, a programmer could “train” AI to navigate traffic under ideal conditions, only to have the program malfunction in an area where traffic signs have been vandalized.

Asu Ozdaglar, the MathWorks Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and deputy dean of academics in the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, told course participants that researchers must find ways to incorporate context and semantic information into AI models prior to “training,” so that they “don’t run into these issues which are very counterintuitive from our perspective … as humans.”

In addition to providing an orientation to this concept of “robustness” (how prone a technology is, or is not, to error), the course included some best-practice guidance for wielding AI in ways that are ethical, responsible, and strive to limit and eliminate bias.

Julie Shah, faculty co-organizer of the USSOCOM course, associate dean of social and ethical responsibilities of computing, and associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, lectured on this topic and emphasized the importance of considering the future ramifications of AI before and during the development of both the use plan and the technology itself.

“We talk about how difficult [it is to predict] the unintended uses and consequences,” she told course participants. “But much like we put all of this engineering work into understanding the machine learning models and their development, we need to build new habits of mind and action that involve a range of disciplines and stakeholders, to envision those futures in advance.”

In addition to moral and safety issues, the logistics of advancing AI in the military are complex and involve a lot of moving parts; the AI technology itself is only one part of this picture. For instance, the actualization of a fleet of military vehicles operated by a handful of personnel would require novel strategic research, partnerships with manufacturers to build new kinds of vehicles, and additional personnel training. Further, AI technology is often developed in the private or academic sectors, and the military doesn’t automatically have access to those innovations.

Clarke told course participants that USSOCOM had been a “pathfinder within the Department of Defense in the early application of some of this data-driven technology” and that connections with organizations like MIT “are indispensable elements in our preparation to maintain advantage and to ensure that our special operations forces are ready for the future and a new era.”

Schmidt agreed with Clarke, adding that a functional hiring pipeline from academia and the tech industry into the military, as well as the highest and best utilization of available technology and personnel, is essential to maintain U.S global competitiveness.

The USSOCOM course was part of the ongoing expansion of AI research and education at MIT, which has accelerated over the last five years. Computer science courses at MIT are typically oversubscribed and attract students from many different disciplines.

In addition to the USSOCOM course, AI initiatives at MIT span many areas and initiatives, including:

“More than a third of MIT’s faculty are working on AI-related research,” Chandrakasan told course participants.

MIT faculty instructors, USSOCOM instructors, and special guests for the course included:

  • Daron Acemoglu, MIT Institute Professor;
  • Regina Barzilay, School of Engineering Distinguished Professor for AI and Health at MIT and AI faculty lead at Jameel Clinic;
  • Ash Carter, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, and the 25th U.S. secretary of defense;
  • Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science;
  • General Richard Clarke, commander of USSOCOM;
  • Colonel Drew Cukor, chief of Algorithmic Warfare Cross Function Team in the ISR Operations Directorate, Warfighter Support, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence;
  • Stephanie Culberson, chief of international affairs in the Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Center;
  • Dario Gil, senior vice president and director of IBM Research and chair of the MIT-IBM Watson Lab;
  • Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton, U.S. Air Force colonel, and U.S. Air Force director of the USAF/MIT AI Accelerator;
  • Dan Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and the Henry Ellis Warren (1894) Professor;
  • David Joyner, executive director of online education and of the Online Master of Science in Computer Science Program in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing;
  • Sertac Karaman, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT;
  • Thom Kenney, USSOCOM chief data officer and the director of SOF Artificial Intelligence;
  • Sangbae Kim, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT;
  • Aleksander Madry, professor of computer science at MIT;
  • Asu Ozdaglar, the MathWorks Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT;
  • L. Rafael Reif, MIT president;
  • Eric Schmidt, visiting MIT Innovation Fellow, former CEO and chair of Google, and co-founder of Schmidt Futures;
  • Julie Shah, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT;
  • David Spirk, U.S. Department of Defense chief data officer;
  • Joshua Tenenbaum, professor of computational cognitive science at MIT;
  • Antonio Torralba, the Delta Electronics Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT; and
  • Daniel Weitzner, founding director of the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative and principal research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Originally envisioned as an on-campus program, the USSOCOM course was moved online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This change made it possible to accommodate a significantly higher number of attendees, and roughly 300 USSOCOM members participated in the course. Though it was conducted remotely, the course remained highly interactive with roughly 40 participant questions per week fielded by MIT faculty and other presenters in chat and Q&A sessions. Participants who completed the course also received a certificate of completion.

The success of the course is a promising sign that more offerings of this type could become available at MIT, according to Bhaskar Pant, executive director of MIT Professional Education, which offers continuing education courses to professionals worldwide. “This program has become a blueprint for MIT faculty to brief senior executives on the impact of AI and other technologies that will transform organizations and industries in significant ways,” he says.

Finding the love hormone in a stressed-out world

In Jenna Sutela’s work, which ranges from computational poetry to experimental music to installations and performance, the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) Visiting Artist enlists microbes and neural networks as co-creators.

“I want to explore this notion of expanded authorship through bringing in beyond-human life forms,” Sutela says. Inspired by science fiction, she employs both nature’s oldest technologies — the slime model Physarum polycephalum that has been compared to a computer — and the newest ones developed in research labs. Bacteria and artificial intelligence are among her many collaborators in creating artworks that challenge the deeply ingrained idea that humans exist apart from the teeming, vibrating world that contains us. 

In April, Sutela participated in an Open Systems panel, moderated by Caroline Jones, professor of history theory and criticism, as part of this year’s CAST symposium. “Jenna Sutela operates in the fluid spaces of artistic knowing, bridging vastly separated topics from the ‘distributed intelligence’ of slime mold to the ‘alien intelligence’ flowing into a Victorian trance medium,” Jones notes, “When I proposed her for a visiting artist residency, I knew she would thrive in the edgy MIT research labs.” 

As a visiting artist, Sutela was inspired by the sonifications of Jerry McAfee (1940) Professor of Engineering Markus Buehler, which are created by translating the vibrations of protein chains into audible sound. This is a field that she has been following attentively: different (still niche) scientific practices of observing life by listening instead of only looking.

As part of this research, Buehler had recently sonified the molecular structure of the coronavirus. “Not only can phenomena within the structure of materials — such as the motion or folding of molecules — be heard and open a new way to understand nature, but it also expands our palette of musical composition,” Buehler says. “When used reversibly, they yield a systematic approach to design new matter, such as new protein molecules that emerge from this process, complementing what evolution produces.”

“A lot of my work consists of using microscopes and telescopes to communicate things that are beyond our ability to experience firsthand,” Sutela says. She has given a voice, or a hum, to Bacillus subtilis bacteria that thrive both in our guts and in outer space. With the pandemic introducing a profound new global anxiety, Sutela wondered if the surge of chemicals that cause emotions such as love or bonding — what are referred to as “emotive molecules” in the project — could similarly be translated into perceptible form. 

Seeing like a machine

Meanwhile, Buehler had spent the past decade listening to proteins and using them as “instruments” and a source for auditory compositions. He had only lately turned to making these molecular patterns comprehensible to another human sense: sight. By hooking an actuator up to a petri dish of water, he was able to see how molecular vibrations manifested as visible water waves. “But when I looked at all these different patterns from different proteins and mutations and I couldn’t really clearly distinguish them, I thought, ‘Maybe a machine learning algorithm might be able to do that, and help in the cross-domain translation,” he recalled. 

The computer, with its artificial neural network, became a creative collaborator. “The computer has now understood the mechanisms of these vibrations and how they relate to different proteins, or molecules. Then I can actually take an image, and ask the algorithm, ‘What do you see in this picture?’” says Buehler. The computer then “draws” on the image, superimposing the patterns it detects on top of the picture to an almost psychedelic effect. In a photo taken of a recent trip to the seaside (like so many in quarantine, Buehler had found himself spending more time outdoors), he discovered the computer could pick out the invisible molecular patterns of the ocean and craggy rock.

This resonates with Sutela’s earlier machine learning-based work that has sought to “get in touch with the nonhuman condition of the computers that work as our interlocutors or infrastructure, or the computers even getting in touch with the more-than-human world around them.” 

The oceanic

Could the computer detect a molecule of emotion? In short, could it see love? Buehler and postdoc Kai Guo from his lab at MIT conducted molecular dynamics modeling of the chemical structure of oxytocin, the hormone and neurotransmitter that is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding. He then translated this structure into vibrations, and taught the computer how to recognize them. “The human inspiration came in through Jenna,” he says. 

She first emailed him a video of a quavering jellyfish, its translucent body indistinguishable from the surrounding sea. Then she began sending videos of wet-on-wet watercolor paintings that she had made as a form of lockdown meditation. This technique embraces unpredicatability by letting the flow of water determine the shapes on the wet paper. The sense of calm she experienced was subsequently reflected by the algorithm as it traced the forms of the neurotransmitters and other emotive molecules over the moving images.

Kai Guo created the molecular dynamics simulations shown in the video. “So, now you have the transcendence between the scales: the molecular, the quantum scale, to the audible scale to the visual scale, and then to the human,” says Buehler.

The video, titled “Wet-on-Wet,” will debut in an online exhibition, Survivance, organized by the Guggenheim Museum and the publishing platform e-flux. Sutela believes the idea of water, connecting humans to each other and the wider environment, dislodges assumptions about individualism. “There’s this idea of oceanic feeling, a sense of oneness with the world, or this kind of limitlessness that’s triggered by the oxytocin hormone,” Sutela says. “When talking about the oceanic, I’d like to focus on not just a feeling, but also work towards our responsibilities as part of both the ecosystem and the society.” 

Finding a universal language

The way the SARS-Cov-2 virus has radically transformed the organization of our lives is evidence enough of the agency of nonhuman matter, and the ways in which the animate and inanimate are deeply enmeshed. “Wet-on-Wet” is, in a sense, an empathic overture to this more-than-human world, an attempt to find a common language in the form of waves, despite the limitations of our human senses. 

The universe, we know, is always in motion, and each of us is vibrating matter. Sutela and Buehler’s work reminds us of our oneness based on this simple physical fact. As Caroline Jones notes, Sutela “helps us see the world as offering infinite kinship.”

Being able to visualize molecular vibrations may lead us to a greater appreciation of our interconnectedness across species, adds Buehler. The patterns of molecules that comprise a human body, after all, are similar to the patterns that might make up a rock, a jellyfish, or a piece of slime mold. “We live on a symbiotic planet,” says Sutela, “we’re part and parcel.”

E-scooters as a new micro-mobility service

A new study by scientists from Future Urban Mobility (FM), an interdisciplinary research group at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore, has found that e-scooters, while considered by some to be a hazard to pedestrians and others, provide an important alternative mode of transit, particularly in urban areas. This study sheds light on the growing utility of e-scooters as a micro-mobility service in Singapore, and will also inform operators, planners, and policymakers on how best to harness and regulate this growing mode of mobility.

The study is described in a paper titled, “E-scooter sharing to serve short-distance transit trips: A Singapore case,” published recently in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. The work was led by Zhejing Cao, PhD researcher at Tsinghua University when she was a visiting SMART FM student, and co-authored by Jinhua Zhao, SMART FM lead principal investigator and associate professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning; as well as Xiaohu Zhang, an assistant professor at The University of Hong Kong; and Kelman Chua and Honghai Yu from Neuron, a Singapore e-scooter sharing operator.

Having first been introduced in Singapore around 2013, the e-scooter, also known in Singapore as a type of personal mobility device, grew swiftly in popularity as an affordable and convenient mobility alternative to driving on Singapore’s often-congested roads during peak hours. The number of e-scooter users has grown rapidly, swelling to around 100,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore by November 2019.

Their popularity, however, has not been problem-free, as a number of serious and even fatal accidents have involved e-scooters and their riders colliding with pedestrians. This ultimately led to a government-mandated ban on their use on footpaths across Singapore in November 2019.

Despite the footpath ban, e-scooters are currently a legal mode of mobility on some 440 kilometers of cycling paths island-wide, and remain in widespread use in Singapore today. E-scooter sharing services have also become micro-mobility services in many cities worldwide, including Singapore, with the emergence of companies such as Telepod and Neuron. E-scooter sharing services provide a convenient micro-mobility service to the public, with rental locations situated across the island and with e-scooters that can be unlocked and paid for via a smartphone app. In addition, e-scooters are an environmentally-friendly alternative to other transportation options via reduced carbon emissions, engender improved life quality and health, and offer mobility aid to the elderly and the disabled.

Lead author Zhejing Cao acknowledges safety concerns surrounding the use of e-scooters, but also notes that they bring compelling benefits to many. “The safety concerns around e-scooter use and the safety of all road and footpath users are of utmost importance,” she says. “Nevertheless, given the numerous benefits that e-scooters bring to the mobility and transport ecosystem, we hope that our work will go some way towards helping policymakers in facilitating the safe and regulated use of e-scooters as an emerging but important micro-mobility service.”

In the Singapore Central Area (SCA), despite the high accessibility of the mass rapid transit system island-wide, the ratio of rapid transit network distance to the shortest street path can be much higher than the global average. Furthermore, 20.98 percent of rapid transit trips in SCA have at least one transfer, higher than the average transfer level in Singapore, and passengers may have to walk an average of nearly 1 kilometer to enter and exit rapid transit stations. As a result, even if the origin and destination of a trip are in close geographical proximity, the overall traveling journey may be suboptimal, and could be made more efficient.

E-scooters can provide a valuable alternative in this segment. As such, it is valuable to explore and investigate the practicality and potential of using e-scooter sharing to replace certain short-distance transit trips where alternative transit methods may not be convenient.

In this study, the researchers collaborated with Neuron to explore the potential of using e-scooter sharing to replace short-distance transit trips in the SCA. The researchers conducted a stated preference survey of e-scooter users in the SCA and estimated mixed logistic models to examine factors influencing a user’s choice of e-scooter and transit. Based on this, the number of transit trips that can be replaced by e-scooters was calculated, and the researchers then analyzed decisions made by e-scooter companies in terms of the trade-offs between serving more e-scooter trips and generating more revenue under varying fares.

The researchers found that fare, transit transfer, and transit walking distance have significant negative impacts on mode utilization, with seemingly random choices among respondents. The uncertainty is higher in predicting e-scooter usage preferences of male, young, and high-income groups. In analyzing the travel demands under different levels of transit inconvenience, the researchers discovered that a higher level of transit indirectness, more transfers, and longer access-egress walking result in a higher average probability of using e-scooters as a mode of transit.

Through analyzing e-scooter companies’ decisions, the researchers also found that the revenue losses borne by e-scooter companies can be significant if e-scooter mode share is maximized with no regard for other considerations, and vice versa.

In order to achieve a better balance between these two competing goals, the researchers found the optimal trade-off places in between two maximization extremes, thus finding the sweet spot where a small sacrifice in maximizing one goal can prevent great loss in the other.

“E-scooter sharing services have shown enormous potential to become an important component of transit systems in urban environments in Singapore and other cities worldwide,” Cao says. “Our study has highlighted the shortcomings of public transport in serving short-distance journeys in the SCA. E-scooter sharing services are able to bridge this gap and provide a convenient micro-mobility service to the public.”

Co-author Xiaohu Zhang adds, “E-scooter sharing as a new form of micro-mobility will improve the overall efficiency of urban transportation systems through enhancing last-mile connectivity as well as serving short-distance travels. It also has huge potential in the future if powered by autonomous driving technology.”

The findings of the SMART study can be used to inform operators, planners, and policymakers on how to harness and regulate this new mobility service, as well as provide suggestions on deploying shared e-scooters to satisfy demand unmet by transit, especially where transit travel involves greater indirectness, transfer, and access-egress walking distance. E-scooter supply strategies at different locations can be varied according to various socio-demographic factors that influence e-scooter preference and mode choices.

When public authorities and private operators take conflicting positions on whether to serve more individual trips or generate greater revenue, the trade-off can be gauged to achieve balance. Such possible means of mitigating disparity between the two goals and achieving balance include administrative regulations (e.g., requiring operators to serve inconvenient short transit trips at certain designated locations) or economic interventions (e.g., subsidies to operators provided by public authorities).

Jinhua Zhao adds, “Evidently, e-scooters present unique advantages and challenges for regulators and policymakers. If managed and regulated effectively, e-scooter sharing services can play an important role in the public mobility circuit, filling a gap in the short-distance transit segment that public transport is, as yet, often unable to fill.”

The research is carried out by SMART and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (CREATE) program.

FM is one of five interdisciplinary research groups in SMART. FM harnesses new technological and institutional innovations to create the next generation of urban mobility systems to increase accessibility, equity, safety, and environmental performance for the citizens and businesses of Singapore and other metropolitan areas worldwide. SMART-FM is supported by the NRF and situated in CREATE.

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