The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Good Start to Fall Semester for edX

The fall semester is off to a rousing start for edX.

Harvard University, which teamed with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to found the nonprofit online education start-up last spring, announced that about 100,000 students signed up for its first free online courses on computer science and an adaptation of the Harvard School of Public Health classes in epidemiology and biostatics.

Free online offerings at MIT and the University of California Berkeley, which joined the project over the summer, are attracting similar interest, according to edX President Anant Agarwal in an article in The Boston Globe. In fact, MIT attracted 155,000 students for a course in circuits and electronics last spring.

The platform uses discussion groups and forums to engage students, who can enroll in as many edX courses they like. Certificates of completion are available to those who show they have mastered the course.

“We view this as an incredible opportunity for us to ask deeper questions about how people learn and how we as a university help people to learn,” Harvard Provost Alan Garber said in The Globe article.

More good news for edX followed as Bloomberg reported that the University of Texas, Austin, plans to spend up to $5 million to join the venture.

“The UT System’s partnership with edX is great news for Texas and exactly the type of effort I hope more schools will consider as we aggressively pursue the goals of improving graduation rates and making a college education more accessible and affordable,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the statement announcing the plan.

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