Lending a major boost to the burgeoning field of online education, two of the country’s most prestigious universities are donating $30-million each to develop a new platform for Internet courses, according to Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times.
Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced on Wednesday plans for EdX, a nonprofit organization that will develop free online classes and design new ways to use the Internet as a learning tool.
EdX will begin offering courses this fall, and other institutions could join the program as it expands, according to Harvard. The classes will not carry academic credit, but students can get a certificate of completion, for which they could be charged a fee.
A handful of other major universities, most notably Stanford, are offering free online courses, often through outside companies, and Internet classes are a staple of for-profit colleges.
“The not-for-profit piece is critical” to EdX, says MIT President Susan Hockfield said. “We want to keep education in the public domain.”