MOOC Spotlight: edX

When MIT launched MITx in December 2011 no one knew that it was the seed that would grow to become one of the largest massive open online course providers in the world. However, when Harvard joined with MIT and transformed the experiment into edX, with an investment of an additional $30 million, the project took on a life of its own.

While the not-for-profit edX currently can't match rivals like Udemy or Coursera for class offerings, there are only nine classes available through edX's website, it more than makes up for the lack of variety with cachet. Over 200 schools have inquired about joining edX, so far only four have been admitted—Georgetown, Wellesley, UC Berkley, and the University of Texas system. The University of Texas system had to invest $5 million into the project in order to gain acceptance.

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Additionally, edX, like some other MOOC providers, has begun looking outside of academia for partnerships, which led the company to recently sign a partnership agreement with technology firm 10gen to offer training classes on the MongoDB program. While edX's administrators have clearly indicated that they are not interested in upsetting the apple cart that is higher education—neither MIT or Harvard students receive credit for taking classes through edX—they recently announced that they were working with three Massachusetts community colleges to adapt some of the project's classes into a blended learning environment.

Unlike other MOOCs, edX is ideally positioned to pursue credit recommendation for its courses. The company was one of the first to partner with a test proctoring company to validate student identities before awarding certificates.

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