Not Just Another Online Class: Harvard and MIT at Your Fingertips

Well, this is impressive. Harvard and the Massachusets Institute of Technology have joined forces and are offering free online courses in a variety of subjects. It’s a nonprofit partnership known as EdX, announced earlier this month. Hearing about upcoming courses is as simple as entering in your email address.

EdX is “An organization established by MIT and Harvard that will develop an open-source technology platform to deliver online courses,” states the program’s website. “EdX will support Harvard and MIT faculty in conducting research on teaching and learning on campus through tools that enrich classroom and laboratory experiences. At the same time, EdX also will reach learners around the world through online course materials. The EdX website will begin by hosting MITx and Harvardx content, with the goal of adding content from other universities interested in joining the platform. EdX will also support the Harvard and MIT faculty in conducting research on teaching and learning.”

MIT’s first such project began in March and enrolled approximately 120,000 students in a Circuits and Electronics course. Of course, only 10,000 made it through the midterm exam, but hey, it’s MIT. It may be free, but no one said this stuff was easy.

The fact that such high-powered American universities are offering free online classes signifies a huge step forward in providing high quality education to the masses. “Through this partnership, the institutions aim to extend their collective reach to build a global community of online learners and to improve education for everyone,” the website also says. As titans of higher learning, perhaps schools like Harvard and MIT have an unspoken responsibility to place at least some of their pedagogy in range of coffee shop wi-fi signals.