NPR Ed HOW LEARNING HAPPENS

Tuskegee began in 1881 with 30 students in a rundown church and a shanty. Its early buildings were in such bad shape that on rainy days a student had to hold an umbrella over Washington while he lectured. LA Johnson/NPR hide caption

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MIT is one of several schools that offer classes through edX, which provides free online courses in partnership with some of the country's top universities. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Ruth Hálová, a survivor of the Holocaust (clockwise): Ruth as a child dressed up for a play; Ruth's 1st grade class taken in 1932; Ruth and husband Milan Hala in India in the 1990's; Ruth and her mother in (the then) Czechoslovakia after the war. Centropa Photo Archives hide caption

itoggle caption Centropa Photo Archives

Jorge Cham is the creator of PHD Comics and received his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Stanford University. PHD (Piled Higher and Deeper) is a comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in academia. See more of his work at www.phdcomics.com. Jorge Cham/PHD Comics hide caption

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John Scarborough, a fourth-year pharmacy student at Lipscomb University, talks to high schoolers during a vocational career training class. Courtesy of Lipscomb University hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Lipscomb University