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. Just type in your name and email address below and I'll get you signed up for this 5-day course—for FREE!
EdX is offering FREE, interactive online classes and open courses from some of the world’s best universities—including Harvard, MIT, and more!
Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free! Subscribe to the free Money Saving Mom® email newsletter and get the Guide to Freezer Cooking for free! We just discovered OpenCulture that published this list of free eBooks, courses and Audio Books. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today announced a partnership that will host online courses from both institutions free of charge. The new venture, called edX, grew out of MIT’s announcement last year that it would offer free online courses on a platform called MITx.
Students who complete the courses on the edX platform will not receive university credit, although they could earn certificates.

At a news conference, the leaders of edX described it as a tool that colleges can use to experiment with online courses and study how students learn. Since edX courses have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of students, the data sets could be “very statistically significant in a very short amount of time,” he said. Other elite universities have attempted online-education programs that were closed after experiencing financial woes. The partnership between Harvard and MIT is one piece of an online-education revival among elite universities that has emerged in the past year.
George Siemens, associate director of Athabasca University’s Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute and a pioneer of massive open online courses, as they are known, said the creation of edX represents in part an attempt by two universities to reclaim space in open online education, where venture capitalists have recently gained a foothold. 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.
Topic include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, and an ever-growing range of disciplines.
We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Some of you may already know of if this incredible resource, but just in case you don’t…have at it! Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. But, just as easily, you can head to the Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg, which have centralized links to every text included in The Harvard Classics (Wealth of Nations, Origin of Species, Plutarch?s Lives, the list goes on). The platform, its creators say, has the potential to improve face-to-face classes on the home campuses while giving students around the world access to a blue-ribbon education. The combined effort will be overseen by a nonprofit organization governed equally by both universities, each of which has committed $30-million to the project. Rafael Reif, MIT’s provost, said the driving force behind the partnership wa “not to make money” but to improve learning for both the universities’ traditional students and the public at large. Those efforts included Fathom, a project led by Columbia University that ended in 2003; and AllLearn, a collaboration that closed its doors in 2006. The edX announcement comes after four top-tier institutions teamed up last month with a for-profit company led by two Stanford computer-science professors to offer a similar array of free online courses.

While Coursera plans eventually to profit from its course offerings, he noted, it’s not yet clear how edX will support itself, and the model its leaders choose will dictate its longevity. Siemens said, the project may even begin to affect the basis for colleges’ accreditation.
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.
Please note that the previous two links won?t give you access to the actual annotated Harvard Classics texts edited by Eliot himself. Anant Agarwal,  director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, who led the development of MITx, will serve as edX’s first president. Agarwal said the platform would allow colleges to join Harvard and MIT in creating brands with the “x” signifier, also would be offered as open-source software for institutions that want to build on it. But, he added, the project will need to find a way to support itself, and its leaders are exploring ways to help it be self-sustaining.
Stanford University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor announced the partnerships with Coursera, a company that sprouted from Stanford’s early experiments with massive open online courses.
In a decade, he speculated, campus administrators may view this recent period of college investment in online-education projects as the moment when the alternative-credential model took off. 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. But if you want just that, you can always click here and get digital scans of the true Harvard Classics. It will be distinct from the continuing distance-education programs at Harvard and MIT, including Harvard’s Extension School and MIT’s OpenCourseWare, which has been putting course materials online for a decade.
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. And, in case you want to deepen your liberal education yet further, don?t forget to check out our collection Free Online Courses ?

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