The online education train keeps picking up steam. It was announced in May that Harvard had partnered with MIT to form a consortium called edX. Now comes word from the New York Times that the University of California, Berkeley, has jumped on board:
Berkeley will be offering two courses, contributing new open-source technology and heading a soon-to-be-formed consortium of universities joining edX. . . .
This fall, edX will offer seven MOOCs [massive open online courses]: artificial intelligence and software engineering from Berkeley, computer science and biostatistics and epidemiology from Harvard, and an introduction to solid state chemistry and an introduction to computer science and programming from M.I.T., along with another round of the circuits course it offered as a prototype.
Those who finish this fall’s courses will get free certificates of completion. Later, edX plans to charge for certificates.
This is just the beginning; the president of edX has said more than 120 universities worldwide are interested in partnering with the organization. Whatever the future holds for edX, it is heartening to see historically prestigious schools leading the way in education innovation.
The standard university course format in which a professor stands and reads a lecture as students take notes hasn’t really changed since Plato ran his Academy. Maybe the internet will now succeed where the printing press failed, and drag academia out of the fourteenth century.