MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Washington — Achieving universal education is a huge goal for development throughout the world. Developed nations, more often than not, have structured educational systems, granting educational access to the majority of their populations. In order to help bridge the gap and provide education to people who have less access to higher level courses, Harvard and MIT collaborated in 2012 to introduce free online courses. The initiative took off and many other institutions have joined EdX, including the University of Chicago, the University of Washington and international institutions such as Peking University and the Australian National University. Fast forward two years later, and MIT and Harvard have released data about the efficiency of their free online courses.
Certification and enrollment differ by discourse. The Computer Science and STEM courses had average certification rates that were about half that of Humanities, History, Religion, Design and Education (HHRDE) and Government and Health and Social Sciences (GHSS) courses — seven percent and six percent versus 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively. After analyzing the data, EdX has identified new opportunities and the next steps necessary to continue the program’s success.
Using this data, there is an opportunity to increase the number of participants and certificate-earners from underrepresented and underserved groups. The second step is to increase and formalize the flow of pedagogical innovations to and from residential courses. The program is creating new opportunities for groups that have not previously had access to advanced courses. Regions currently suffering from lack of educators will have new ways to ensure that professionals can continue learning after high school at their own pace. The first official courses will be announced this summer and are set to begin in the fall.EdX students won't receive university credit for the classes, which will span a variety of disciplines.
Academic Earth was launched on the premise that everyone deserves access to a world-class education. Harvard recently announced its new initiative to add book metadata available for public search for all of its libraries, and now the ivy league research school has teamed up with MIT to offer free online courses, a new program called edX.
The edX initiative is a non-profit organization that is funded by both institutions, with each contributing roughly $30 million to the program.
In related news, it was recently reported that Sebastian Thrun, former Research Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and Google Fellow, quit his job to found Udacity, a free online university with a mission to “change the future of education”. Let’s first recap the dizzying pace of change, announcements and launches that have occurred since the Fall of 2011 between Udacity, Coursera, MITx and the latest free-learning darling, edX. It was a mere three months ago in February when I questioned whether Udacity and Coursera were in fact reforming higher education. Arguably they already have, based not only on the launch of edX in the academic vertical but continued (perhaps competitive?) innovations occurring in the corporate learning space from Skillsoft, Pearson and Saba among others.
Some of you may be thinking this is reminiscent of the 1990’s West Coast versus East Coast rapper wars with a stand-off between Silicon Valley and Boston-based universities.
Collectively, we know that $81 million dollars has been invested in the three (or is it four MITx?) fledgling online entities thus far. There is the possibility that edX and Coursera in particular are using these non-credentialed courses as loss leaders.
Or possibly the online free courses can add up to an official credential at some point, but the student would have to purchase the actual articulation.

Think about corporate access via edX to Harvard Business School Executive Education and its talent pool. I completed a course through Coursera from UC Berkeley SaaS Engineering Long Lasting Software. Now we have WeduboX in latin america, they just launched the beta test and their focus is the same as Udacity, Coursera and edX but in a different market: Spain and Latin America.
EdX offers certificates under MITx or Berkleyx accordingly, and is affiliated with the university that runs it.
Andrea, thank you for the news about wedubox, I just checked and they finished the beta phase (with about 1.000 teachers), now wedubox is on production. I?m creating my first course and the portal is great, the looks is very similar to udacity. It should be interesting how the dynamics between the major and secondary , US and international universities, play out during this time of change. The United Nations has continuously stressed the importance of global education and has specified many priorities to achieve this strategy. But beyond high school education, university degrees can more often than not be the difference between living in poverty and being well off. Students can also pay a small fee to receive official certificates as well when fulfilling professional development course requirements.
The results are promising but offer interesting insights into the world of free online education. The first step is to identify course-level and institutional priorities for increased access.
There is an opportunity to make the “secondary” use of open online course resources by teachers a primary goal that will be beneficial for all efforts targeted toward teacher development.
New strategies learned in online teaching courses on EdX can be shared with educators around the world, improving efficiency. Soon you'll be able to do so from the comfort of your own home.Harvard and MIT announced a partnership Wednesday to offer free online courses to students around the world.
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In 2009, we built the first collection of free online college courses from the world’s top universities. Those who sign up for an edX course can get a taste of what it's like to take a class at Harvard or MIT. Likewise, Stanford, along with Princeton, Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, have also recently announced free online courses. Thankfully the recent additions of Princeton, uPenn and uMich to Coursera have alleviated that theory. Unless the purpose of a VC has changed and pigs can now fly, it reasons to stand these funding partners have their eye on a bigger prize downstream. For example, a student completes 120 articulated credits via Coursera over a 6-year period, and she wants a degree now to show for her efforts. Through the magic of the partnerships, the student can be provided the degree for a fee. And if Coursera, edX and Udacity prove me right, they eventually will get into the corporate learning platform space.

I happened to hear about it just after the Mitx and Udacity announcements last year so I jumped in.
That meteorite is headed for the dinosaurs and they best devise a way to prevent extinction.
I am doing courses with EdX, Coursera and Udacity to suppliment my (quite rigid) traditional university study. This is a promising find, perhaps indicating that those who are engaged in the pursuit of knowledge are willing to utilize the Internet to gain new skills. The initiative, known as edX, will be run by a non-profit organization controlled by the two schools. The world of open education has exploded since then, so today our curated lists of online courses are hand selected by our staff to show you the very best offerings by subject area. The program is free, unless a virtual student seeks a certificate declaring mastery over a specific course. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the new Academic partners in Coursera have also funded the endeavour, perhaps behind the scenes. When Harvard realized the Bruins were out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, they decided to get cozy with MIT and their MITx initiative.
Think about companies who may be keenly interested in analyzing the online studying behaviours of people. I see a day where corporate customers will utilize a cloud-based version of their platform but in a secure, private manner. This enables me to tailor my learning to what I want rather than some run of the mill degree. We also make sure there is something for everyone: whether you want to explore a new topic or advance in your current field, we bring the amazing world of academia to you for free. Naturally, no actual credit hours are offered and there is no admissions process, though there are quizzes and exams. With each institution investing $30m into the pot (when MITx launched a mere 6 months ago) shows you how much potential new money is at stake. This is a classic example of investing for the long term by all stakeholders from each of the projects. It’s those learners who are receiving a free course that will be (unknowingly?) providing data points to companies in search of trends and the like.
What originally was free could now be a revenue stream for the academic institutions and both parties are happy.
The list of courses available will be officially announced by the end of the summer, and classes will begin in the fall.
I see these projects as opportunities to upsell fee-based programs and degrees that otherwise might not have occurred due to the lack of a sales channel. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc.

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