Stanford University is teaming up with edX, a nonprofit venture founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to develop an open-source Web platform for free online college courses. This interesting alliance heralds the beginning of the race to open up the highest levels of higher education to the world.
Anant Agarwal, president of edX, said that he envisions that any school or company could use it to mount a course, part of what he calls a “true, planet-scale democratization of education.”
Stanford was one of the key players in the emergence of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, which was initiated by two university computer scientists. They launched the for-profit MOOC platform Coursera about a year ago through which Stanford offers several courses. Another Stanford professor founded the for-profit MOOC provider Udacity.
The nonprofit edX, which launched nearly a year ago, offers MOOCs from Harvard, MIT and other elite universities. Georgetown University plans to unveil edX courses soon. While Stanford has no plans to put its own courses on edX, it will, however, team up with edX developers on a platform that edX hopes will become “the Linux of learning,” referring to a major open-source computer operating system.