In May 2012, Harvard joined forces with MIT to form edX (edx.org), a not-for-profit enterprise that features learning designed specifically for interactive study via the web. edX is an enabling platform, allowing select university partners, the ability to readily distribute course content and other academic materials.
One year after its founding, edX has enrolled over 1 million students from around the world; 70% of students hail from outside of the U.S., representing 192 countries.
Through its institutional partners, the X University Consortium, edX presents the best of global higher education online, offering opportunity to anyone who wants to achieve, thrive, and grow. There are now 28 partners as part of the X University Consortium: Harvard – Founding Partner, MIT – Founding Partner, University of California, Berkeley, The University of Texas System, Australian National University, TU Delft, Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne, Georgetown University, McGill University, Rice University, University of Toronto, Wellesley, Berklee College of Music, Boston University, Cornell University, Davidson, The University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Kyoto University, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Peking University, Seoul National University, Tsinghua University, Technische Univeristat Munchen, The University of Queensland, University of Washington, and IIT Bombay.
Launched in parallel with edX, HarvardX s a bold experiment to push the boundaries of learning through re-imagined teaching, unprecedented research, and cutting-edge technology for Harvard students and learners everywhere.
To date, HarvardX has produced 15 courses and modules, the largest number of any of the X University Consortium partners; registered over 400,000 students (from 10 to 80 years of age); and offered the largest enrolled class, CS50x, “Introduction to Computer Science” (150,000+).
Globally minded, HarvardX expresses its commitment to educating the world in a myriad of ways. For example, ER22x: Justice asked thousands of students "raise" their digital hands and be heard. Each week, there was an optional live dialogue enabling students to interact with instructors and participants from around the world. Likewise, CS50x said "Hello World!" when David Malan asked students from around the world to introduce themselves via short videos: https://x.cs50.net/hello/. Students were also able to show their final projects through a virtual Expo: https://expo.cs50.net/. In PH207x, “Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical & Public Health Research,” 10% of the enrollees were from India. An entire hospital in India, in fact, took the course collectively to improve their practice.
In addition, the courses themselves showcase the breadth and depth of Harvard’s global scholarship: PH278x, “Human Health and Global Environmental Change”; SW12x, “China”.
As part of its research mission, HarvardX is committed to using technology not only to reach a global audience of serious learners, but to produce course content that is caters to both different languages as well as difference cultures. A goal for FY14 is to translate and localize 3 courses in 3 different languages.
The potential for expanding global access is, however, only one part of the story. David Hunter, dean for academic affairs at the Harvard School for Public Health (HSPH), said that the enthusiastic participation of HSPH in EdX was aimed both at increasing the numbers of trained public health workers around the world and at improving teaching in the School’s residential degree programs.
“Online teaching not only increases our global reach, but it provides materials and methods that we hope will make classes at HSPH more flexible and student-centered,” Hunter said. He said the next priority is to have the other elements of the core master of public health curriculum available in edX format.