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Harvard and MIT to offer free online courses

Earlier this month, we told you about Coursera, the new non-profit offering free online courses from Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan.

Harvard and and MIT will begin offering free online courses, known as MOOCs (massively open-online courses), through edX. Already wildly popular at the universities where they’re offered, many see MOOCs as having great global potential. In an interview with the New York Times, online college professor and “MOOC pioneer” George Siemens stated:

“Projects like this can impact lives around the world, for the next billion students from China and India. But if I were president of a mid-tier university, I would be looking over my shoulder very nervously right now, because if a leading university offers a free circuits course, it becomes a real question whether other universities need to develop a circuits course.”

Adding another perspective, past president of Tufts University and current member of Harvard Corporation, Lawrence S. Bacow said, “Online education is here to stay, and it’s only going to get better.”

EdX’s first class, Circuits and Electronics, began in March and enrolled well over 100,000 students, 10,000 of which completed the mid-term exams. Those who complete the class will receive a certificate of mastery and a grade. Like other free online course programs, credit is not given.

EdX will expand to five courses (including humanities) in the fall and will be operated by leadership at Harvard and MIT.

Read the full story here.

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