MIT and Harvard announce edX- A free online education platform for all
EdX is a transformational new partnership in online education between The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University to offer online learning to millions of people around the world. EdX will offer Harvard and MIT classes online for free. Through this partnership, the institutions aim to extend their collective reach to build a global community of online learners and to improve education for everyone.
EdX will build on both universities’ experience in offering online instructional content. The technological platform recently established by MITx, which will serve as the foundation for the new learning system, was designed to offer online versions of MIT courses featuring video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, immediate feedback, student-ranked questions and answers, online laboratories, and student paced learning. Certificates of mastery will be available for those motivated and able to demonstrate their knowledge of the course material.
“EdX represents a unique opportunity to improve education on our own campuses through online learning, while simultaneously creating a bold new educational path for millions of learners worldwide,” MIT President Susan Hockfield said.
MIT and Harvard expect that over time other universities will join them in offering courses on the edX platform. They believe that the gathering of many universities’ educational content together on one site will enable learners worldwide to access the course content of any participating university from a single website, and to use a set of online educational tools shared by all participating universities.
EdX learning platform as Open Source Software
EdX will release its learning platform as open source software so it can be used by other universities and organizations who wish to host the platform themselves. Because the learning technology will be available as open-source software, other universities and individuals will be able to help edX improve and add features to the technology.
Harvard President Drew Faust said, “edX gives Harvard and MIT an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically extend our collective reach by conducting groundbreaking research into effective education and by extending online access to quality higher education.”
“Harvard and MIT will use these new technologies and the research they will make possible to lead the direction of online learning in a way that benefits our students, our peers, and people across the nation and the globe,” Faust continued.
“The campus environment offers opportunities and experiences that cannot be replicated online,” said Hockfield. “EdX is designed to improve, not replace, the campus experience.”
EdX will be separate from ongoing distance learning initiatives at both institutions, including MIT OpenCourseWare and courses offered by schools at Harvard such as the Harvard Extension School, the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Medical School.
First Courses starts by Fall 2012
The universities will work to develop further the online learning platform already begun with MITx and to populate the edX website with courses from the MIT and Harvard faculty. During the early stages, the two universities will work cooperatively to offer as broad an initial set of courses as possible. A first set of courses is scheduled to be announced in early summer and to start in Fall, 2012.
“We are already moving forward quickly,” said Anant Agarwal. “There’s a lot of energy in the air, and the teams at Harvard and MIT can’t wait to collaborate.”
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edX technology and Features
An open-source online learning platform that will feature teaching designed specifically for the web. Features will include: self-paced learning, online discussion groups, wiki-based collaborative learning, assessment of learning as a student progresses through a course, and online laboratories. The platform will also serve as a laboratory from which data will be gathered to better understand how students learn. Because it is open source, the platform will be continuously improved.