Top US universities put their reputations online
By Sean Coughlan
This autumn more than a million students are going to take part in an experiment that could re-invent the landscape of higher education.
Some of the biggest powerhouses in US higher education are offering online courses – testing how their expertise and scholarship can be brought to a global audience.
Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have formed a $60m (£38m) alliance to launch edX, a platform to deliver courses online – with the modest ambition of “revolutionising education around the world”.
Sounding like a piece of secret military hardware, edX will provide online interactive courses which can be studied by anyone, anywhere, with no admission requirements and, at least at present, without charge.
With roots in Silicon Valley, Stanford academics have set up another online platform, Coursera, which will provide courses from Stanford and Princeton and other leading US institutions.