MIT and Harvard are partnering up for a new online educational initiative. The brand new edX non profit builds on the MITx online course series that MIT launched in March this year (MITx is now a part of edX). “Anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world can have access,” Harvard president Drew Faust said at a press conference today. The two universities plan to collaborate with other universities across the country to offer online learning tools “on a single site,” she added. The platform will start out hosting courses from MIT and Harvard, but will also help educators develop online learning technology and tools for distance learning. “Our goal is to educate a billion people around the world,” head of MITx, Anant Agarwal, said in an introductory video. edX will be collecting data about how students learn online, and offer that data set to researchers building tools. Agarwal will lead edX as its first president. Agarwal said that Sal Khan, “a student of many of us here,” was a leader in the field of online education, and his distinctive video style at Khan Academy did influence the way MITx and edX was designed. MITx itself shot off to hot start–its first online course on circuits received 120,000 registrations when it launched, MIT president Susan Hockfield said today.
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