Today is the official start of the first HarvardX classes, two courses which are part of the Harvard, MIT and Berkeley joint online education initiative known as EdX. According to the Boston Globe, about 100,000 students have signed up for the two courses, “Introduction to Computer Science 1” and “Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical and Public Health Research.”
Harvard University provost Alan Garber said last week that the free courses are part of an effort to education people worldwide, and that the effort will help improve education on the brick-and-mortar Harvard campus as well.
The goal of distributing education to a worldwide audience is a fundamental theme behind a number of MOOC platforms like Coursera and Udacity. World Education University’s specific goal is to democratize education and make it available for free to the masses.
Courses offered through edX are branded by the university which offers them: MITx, HarvardX, and BerkeleyX. Students are free to take as many courses as they want through edX and are granted a certificate of completion for every finished course.
Garber says that the courses are already stimulating faculty conversation, causing instructors to evaluate and adapt to a new kind of educational method.
“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,” Garber said.