Another Wave of the Online Education Tsunami Hits Our Shores

Yesterday, my blog post was entitled: “Online Education: Here Comes the Tsunami.” In this post I summarized an article in the New York Times that describes a recent announcement by several major universities. They are teaming up with Coursera, a for-profit company founded by two Stanford professors, to offer a wide array of free, online courses.

Photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffrowley/

Today, another tsunami wave broke on our cultural shore. The Times featured an article by Tamar Lewin, “Berkeley to Join the Free Online Learning Partnership EdX.” Why did Berkeley decide to go with edX rather than Coursera? Lewin explains:

Berkeley’s decision to join with edX is noteworthy because of the university’s prominence, and because several of its professors have been offering free online courses through Coursera, a competing platform for massive open online courses, or MOOCs, created by two Stanford University computer scientists.

“Ultimately, our faculty will decide where they want to put courses up online, but we find that edX has values and methodologies very closely aligned with ours at Berkeley, so our institutional preference would be to use edX,” said Robert J. Birgeneau, the chancellor of Berkeley.

The most important difference between the two, Mr. Birgeneau said, is that Coursera is a for-profit company, while edX is not for profit.

It will be fascinating to watch the continued progress of this tsunami. Batten down the hatches!

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