Two Elite Academic Institutions Are Using a New Online Education Initiative to Offer Students Free Courses
By Sarah Shemkus, Salary.com contributing writer
Two of the country’s premier academic institutions — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University — have joined forces to launch an online education initiative that might just “reinvent education,” according to Anant Agarwal, president of the new program.
Dubbed edX, the program is based on MITx, a similar initiative launched by the science and technology school earlier this year. EdX will act as a sort of umbrella organization, allowing participating institutions to offer free, online courses from their curricula. Harvard and MIT are the initial partners in the program, but already other universities are expressing interest in participating, Agarwal said.
“We’ve had an extraordinary amount of interest from a large number of universities, in the United States and around the world,” he said.
There will be no admissions requirements; anyone with an internet connection and the drive to learn can enroll. The online courses are intended to be as rigorous as the versions offered to full-time students at Harvard and MIT. The online learning software platform used by edX was developed at MIT; courses will include videos, reading materials, and discussion forums that allow students to interact with instructors and each other.
Upon completion of courses, students will be able to pay a small fee to receive a certificate attesting that they mastered that material.
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