Harvard, MIT announce online learning partnership

May 02, 2012 By DENISE LAVOIE , Associated Press

(AP) -- Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have joined forces to offer free online courses in a project aimed at attracting millions of online learners around the world, the universities announced Wednesday.

Beginning this fall, a variety of courses developed by faculty at both institutions will be available online through the new $60 million partnership, known as "edX."

"Anyone with an Internet connection anywhere in the world can have access," Harvard President Drew Faust said during a news conference to announce the initiative.

MIT has offered a program called OpenCourseWare for a decade that makes materials from more than 2,000 classes available free online. It has been used by more than 100 million people. In December, the school announced it also would begin offering a special credential, known as MITx, for people who complete the online version of certain courses.

Harvard has long offered courses to a wider community through its extension program.

The MITx platform will serve as the foundation for the new learning system.

MIT President Susan Hockfield said more than 120,000 people registered for the first course offered by MITx. She said Harvard and MIT hope other universities will join them in offering courses on the open-source edX platform.

"Fasten your seatbelts," Hockfield said.

Other universities, including Stanford, Yale and Carnegie-Mellon, have been experimenting with teaching to a global audience online.

The Harvard-MIT initiative will be overseen by a not-for-profit organization based in Cambridge, to be owned equally by the two universities. MIT and Harvard have made commitments of $30 million each in institutional support, grants and philanthropy to start the collaboration.

Certificates will be given to students who pass the online courses.

Harvard and MIT also plan to use the edX platform to research how students learn and which teaching methods and tools are most successful.

Explore further: Local education politics 'far from dead'

5 /5 (8 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The Web: Become a Harvard man -- online

Mar 01, 2006

You may not be able to relocate to Cambridge, Mass., but these days you can still earn a diploma from Harvard University's extension school -- thanks to distance learning on the Internet. Harvard, one of the nation's premier ...

Number of free, noncredit courses on Web increasing

Jan 18, 2010

A stay-at-home mom in Maine. A physics teacher in an under-supplied school in Quito, Ecuador. A food-service-supply salesman in Lancaster, Pa., laid up for months with little to do after a hang-gliding accident. And two out-of-work ...

On the Net: College too expensive? Try YouTube

Apr 09, 2009

(AP) -- It might seem counterintuitive to look for higher education alongside Avril Lavigne music videos, but the video-sharing site has become a major reservoir of college content.

Recommended for you

Local education politics 'far from dead'

11 hours ago

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

11 hours ago

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

13 hours ago

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

13 hours ago

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

Understanding the economics of human trafficking

Jul 28, 2014

Although Europe is one of the strictest regions in the world when it comes to guaranteeing the respect of human rights, the number of people trafficked to or within the EU still amounts to several hundred ...

User comments : 0