UC Berkeley announced today that it has joined the online edX program and will be offering courses in the fall.
Founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, the edX program was launched in May as a not-for-profit interactive study platform. The brainchild of the former Director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Anant Agarwal, edX serves to offer free courses to learners around the world.
Originally, specific MIT and Harvard courses were on offer. Now, however, the University of California, Berkeley has been added to the platform, making the academic institution the third "X" university to participate. UC Berkeley will offer two courses on edX this fall.
"We are very excited that UC Berkeley is joining us in this effort. EdX is about revolutionizing learning, and we have received a tremendous outpouring of excitement and interest from universities around the world. UC Berkeley is an extraordinary public institution known not only for its academic excellence but also for its innovativeness. With this collaboration, edX is now positioned to improve education more rapidly, both online and on-campus worldwide."
The courses offered under the name "BerkeleyX" are "Artificial Intelligence" and "Software as a Service".
Meanwhile, Harvard is offering "Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical and Public Health Research" and "Computer Science 50", MIT's courses scheduled for the next academic year are "Introduction to Computer Science and Programming", "Introduction to Solid State Chemistry" and "Circuits and Electronics".
Taking a course through the edX platform is free, and those that pass can gain a certificate to prove they have completed a course of study. Agarwal hopes that by connecting reputable universities to the initiative, others will follow suit -- resulting in a wider range of courses students can take. EdX plans to add other universities in the coming months.
Harvard President Drew Faust said:
"Interest from other institutions in collaborating with edX has been enormous from the outset and we are delighted that the partnership announced today by Berkeley has come together so quickly. Since the beginning, our goal has been to broaden edX offerings by partnering with other universities who are equally committed to both expanding access to education and improving research about teaching and learning. Today’s announcement is in an important step in that direction."
MIT launched its MITx online learning initiative in late 2011, with 6.002x -- Circuits and Electronics -- as its prototype course, and over 150,000 students worldwide enrolled. EdX was announced by Harvard and MIT in May, with each university contributing $30 million to the cause.
EdX will also be released in the future as an open-source learning platform, although the date of release has not been determined.