Harvard and M.I.T Team Up to Offer Free online Courses
A number of elite colleges plan to offer similar "FREE" courses
There’s a trend emerging of elite universities planning to offer FREE online courses, referred to as Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs.
Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Wednesday announced edX, a new nonprofit partnership to offer free online courses from both universities. They are joined by other universities who announced similar projects this month, including Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan — who announced their partnership with a new commercial company, Coursera, with $16 million in venture capital.
The new courses offer vast new learning opportunities for students around the world, with top notch technology including: video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, immediate feedback and student-paced learning.
And the number of students enrolled are massive. M.I.T’s learning project, MITX, had about 120,000 students enrolled in it’s first course that began in March; some 10,000 of whom made it through the recent midterm exam.
The edX program, which is expected to offer its first five courses this fall, will be overseen by a nonprofit organization governed equally by the two universities, each of which has committed $30 million to the project, the New York Times reported.
“Projects like this can impact lives around the world, for the next billion students from China and India,” George Siemens, a MOOC pioneer who teaches at Athabasca University, a publicly supported online Canadian university, told the New York Times. “But if I were president of a mid-tier university, I would be looking over my shoulder very nervously right now, because if a leading university offers a free circuits course, it becomes a real question whether other universities need to develop a circuits course.”