HARVARD AND MIT presidents Drew Faust and Susan Hockfield today announced EdX, a nonprofit joint venture that will offer online courses to the general public while investigating technologies for improving both distance learning and campus-based education. Appropriately, given the nature of the venture, the presidents’ event inaugurating EdX was streamed live to online viewers.
According to officials from the two institutions, EdX will enable them to address rapidly evolving education technologies more quickly, and with a broader, deeper research agenda, than either could alone. From Harvard’s perspective, using the MITx online course platform—which has 120,000 participants enrolled in its first course, 6.002x, “Circuits and Electronics”—markedly accelerates the University’s entry into large-scale distance learning of this sort.
Highlights of the EdX venture include:
A Cambridge-based nonprofit organization, owned and governed equally by Harvard and MIT, each of which is committing $30 million in institutional funds, grants, and philanthropic gifts to capitalize the venture. (The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, now a stand-alone genomics-research center, was similarly inaugurated as a joint venture, with philanthropic support in the hundreds of millions of dollars, in 2003.)