December, 11, 2012
This week yet another major U.S. university announced it will join the MOOC (massive open online courses) revolution by signing on to the edX initiative. While some education experts praise higher education’s move towards making online courses available to the wider public, others criticize it as simply jumping on the bandwagon for marketing purposes, wrote the Washington Post.
According to the Washington Post, Georgetown University announced Monday that it will join the online higher education venture edX. Founded by Harvard University and MIT professors, edX remains one of the most prominent web platforms providing MOOCs to students across the globe. To date, millions of people have signed up to participate in MOOCs through edX and another well-known platform called Coursera. Georgetown is the sixth university to sign on to the initiative, after the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Texas, and Wellesley College.
"In joining edX, we become part of a consortium of institutions on the cutting edge of higher education," said President of Georgetown University Dr. John J. DeGioia in a school press release. "As a Catholic and Jesuit university, we have been committed to working at the frontiers of education and meeting global needs since our founding in 1789. This new partnership offers us an exciting opportunity to continue in this work to enhance learning and research both online and on our campuses, and to fulfill our mission of creating and disseminating knowledge in innovative and effective new ways."
In The Capital reports that of the more than 200 colleges that have applied to be a part of edX, most have been turned away. Georgetown was among the select few chosen to be a part of the program. In The Capital suggests that one reason Georgetown may have qualified is DeGioia's friendship with Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust. According to the report, DeGioia and Faust met several years ago when DeGioia assisted in an accreditation review of Harvard. He and Faust quickly became engaged in discussions about MOOCs and their potential. Last September, DeGioia met with edX and a deal was set into place, though it is not yet clear if or how Georgetown will integrate edX courses into its classrooms.
"We're all searching for the optimal blend of face-to-face experience and online experience," Robert Groves, Georgetown provost, told In The Capital. "And the world hasn't figured that out yet."
The Washington Post reported that Georgetown University will begin to add MOOCs to the platform next fall. Anant Agarwal, president of edX, said the venture welcomes the University to its ranks.
"Georgetown has a long history of research and educational excellence, with a demonstrated commitment to the arts and sciences, foreign service, law, medicine, public policy, business, and nursing and health studies." Agarwal announced in an edX press release. "Georgetown, with its distinguished presence around the world including a School of Foreign Service campus in Qatar, shares with edX a global perspective and a mission to expand educational opportunities."
Compiled by Aimee Hosler
"Georgetown Chooses to Offer Online Courses with edX Over Coursera, But Why?" inthecapital.com, December 10, 2012, Molly Greenberg
"Georgetown Joins Harvard and MIT’s EdX to Enhance Learning On-Campus, Globally,” georgetown.edu, December 10, 2012
"Georgetown to offer free online courses," washingtonpost.com, December 9, 2012, Nick Anderson
Georgetown University joins edX," edx.org, December 10, 2012