UC Berkeley Joins edX Free Online Class Platform

Two months ago we covered Harvard and MIT’s online course venture, the nonprofit partnership known as edX. The University of California Berkeley has jumped on board this month, bringing a West Coast flavor to the free online venture pioneered by the two elite Massachusetts schools.

There seems to be an increase in institutes of higher learning becoming involved with free online education. Berkeley’s arrival comes after the Stanford-founded platform Coursera announced partnerships with 12 new schools earlier this month. And edX’s president Anant Agarwal claimed that more than 120 universities have expressed interested in joining edX.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Berkeley’s chancellor Robert Birgenau said, “We are deeply committed to public education and to making courses available at the lowest costs possible.”

While we’re on the subject of cost, it is worth nothing that due to state budget cuts, the cash-strapped UC Berkeley won’t be able to match the $30 million pledged by Harvard and MIT to the project. edX will instead rely on additional Harvard and MIT alumni donations to fund Berkeley’s arrival.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also contributed $1 million to fund a community college flipped classroom experiment which will use edX lectures to target lower-income students.

Have you ever participated in any edX, Coursera or Udacity courses? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.