Harvard President Drew Faust and MIT President Susan Hockfield held a press conference today to discuss the details of its new, $60 million online learning platform, edX, which will launch this coming fall. The platform will include course content from the two prestigious schools, and will be an open source for any universities that wish to participate.
The idea behind edX is to allow students to access educational content from any participating university or organization on one website. The schools plan to release the software to allow for other universities to participate and will allow for upgrades and the addition of new features, according to the Harvard Gazette.
EdX will also be used to research how students learn and the effectiveness of online learning platforms on teaching online and on-campus.
“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,” Faust told the Harvard Gazette.
Both schools, which donated $30 million each to the program, will own and operate the platform, but it will be overseen by a Cambridge-based not-for-profit organization, according to the Harvard Gazette. MIT’s Anant Agarwel, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, will be edX’s first president.
For the past decade, MIT has made more than 2,000 classes available online for free through its OpenCourseWare program. The program has been used by more than 100 million people. The school announced in December it would begin offering online versions of certain courses through its MITx program, which will be the basis for the edX platform.
-Dustin Bass, @dbass_cmn