EdX Launches Free Online Courses

It was exciting news when MIT and Harvard University both announced that they would be collaborating with edX to begin offering free online courses to anyone with an internet connection and a desire to begin enhancing their education. However, the $60 million initiative is not the only platform for free online education; a few other organizations have also joined in on all of the fun.

The Rise of the MOOC’s

MOOC’s, or massive open online courses, have become the newest craze to hit the online world!

With organizations such as Udacity and Coursera joining the ranks, MOOCs could change the college experience in ways we’ve yet to explore.

Some of the top universities all over the world are collaborating with these platforms to add their own courses to the mix, and are all available at no cost.

At the moment, Coursera boasts around 100 courses, which are being offered by 16 universities, and it has already passed the 1 million mark in terms of users. Udacity, on the other hand, boasts over 700,000 users, although most of its offerings focus more on the field of computer sciences.

Last month, Princeton, Stanford, Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania announced that they would offer free Web-based courses through a for-profit company called Coursera that was founded by two Stanford computer science professors. One of those professors, Andrew Ng, taught a free online course in machine learning this past fall with an enrollment of more than 100,000 students.



Online Education Set to Take Over the World

While there are many universities who have already signed up to offer courses of their own, there are more than 120 colleges and universities that are considering taking the final steps to do the same through a collaboration with edX. In the Fall, the courses will open and students will be able to choose courses from three different institutions; MIT, Harvard and Berkley. It is clear that the organization is considering increasing their offerings by adding courses from a range of universities in the near future, although when this is going to take place is yet to be announced.



Students Choosing Their Courses

As it stands, edX will offer courses ranging from the field of computer sciences to courses within the medical field. Those that have studied online in the past will find it easier to navigate the system, participate in the discussion groups and develop their own learning schedule, and so this shouldn’t be as big of an adjustment for them.



Open Source Learning

The platform itself is built with open source software, meaning that a community of users can add to it, increasing its efficiency and adding new features which will enhance the overall experience of the users. During the initial phases, a lot of attention will be paid to the efficiency with which the courses are offered, as well as any issues that students might come across as they take advantage of the courses; once these “bugs” have been identified and dealt with. There is no knowing just how influential these courses might be to those looking to study, as well as those that are already taking a qualification and would like to supplement their knowledge of a course; the possibilities are endless.

The first course will begin on September 3rd, and so prospective students might want to start sharpening their pencils and getting their thinking caps on, because this new platform is set to take the world of online education by storm, and the chances are, they are going to succeed.

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