1. Computing

EdX Courses Aim to Educate the World

Online Learning Platform Offers Free College Courses

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EdX

EdX is an online learning platform offering free college courses to anyone who wants to take them. The not-for-profit joint venture was created in 2012 by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which portrayed their initiative as an attempt educate the world.

The online courses offered by edX typically feature video lectures, short quizzes embedded in the videos and various self-paced, interactive learning projects and "online laboratories." (Visit the edX website.)

EdX, a Different Kind of MOOC

EdX falls into the category of the MOOC, which stands for massive open online courses. While many other MOOC course providers (such as Coursera) are for-profit startups, edX is a nonprofit whose mission is public education.

The first edX classes went online in the fall of 2012 and were taught by professors at Harvard and MIT. Other universities joining edX to develop their courses on the edX platform have included the University of California at Berkeley, Wellesley, Georgetown and the University of Texas. By early 2013, some dozen universities had joined the edX consortium, including some beyond the United States--such as the University of Toronto, the Australian National University and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

In announcing its international expansion in February 2013, edX said 700,000 users had signed up courses in less than a year since it opened.

The edX consortium offers participating students the opportunity to earn a "certificate of mastery" for certain courses, with plans to charge fees for the certificates in the works.

An interesting aspect of the edX learning platform is that it is open-source, and designed to allow participants to "learn about learning" in online environments. Its founders hope that by open-sourcing the technology, collaborators from all over the world will help to improve it as more is learned about online education and use of technology for peer feedback and other forms of learning.

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