Harvard recently announced its new initiative to add book metadata available for public search for all of its libraries, and now the ivy league research school has teamed up with MIT to offer free online courses, a new program called edX.
The edX initiative is a non-profit organization that is funded by both institutions, with each contributing roughly $30 million to the program. Those who sign up for an edX course can get a taste of what it's like to take a class at Harvard or MIT. The program is free, unless a virtual student seeks a certificate declaring mastery over a specific course. Naturally, no actual credit hours are offered and there is no admissions process, though there are quizzes and exams. The list of courses available will be officially announced by the end of the summer, and classes will begin in the fall.
Harvard President Drew Faust states, “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.” MIT President Susan Hockfield adds, “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."
In related news, it was recently reported that Sebastian Thrun, former Research Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and Google Fellow, quit his job to found Udacity, a free online university with a mission to “change the future of education”. Likewise, Stanford, along with Princeton, Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, have also recently announced free online courses.