UW News

May 22, 2013

UW joins edX to provide more free online courses

Professional And Continuing Education

The University of Washington announced May 21 a new partnership with edX, the Massive Open Online Course provider from Harvard/MIT.

These new UW online courses, under the name UWashingtonX, will be free and open to the public. The courses will be in addition to the such courses already available on Coursera, where the UW was an early innovator with both free and for-credit classes, announced in July 2012.

The UW plans to start with four new courses for edX, ready in January 2014. Courses under consideration will build on the university’s online teaching expertise since the 1990s that includes: more than a dozen Massive Open Online Courses launched in 2012-13, plus 15 online graduate degrees, undergraduate online degree completion, 40 certificate programs, 58 online undergraduate courses, and 14 other free courses made available during the last decade.

In addition to Harvard and MIT, edX elite partners also include such universities as California, Berkeley; Georgetown; Toronto; Cornell; Boston and Texas, plus leading institutions in Asia, Europe and Australia. Each partner shares a commitment to transforming educational quality, efficiency and scale through technology and research for the benefit of campus-based students and the worldwide community of online and blended learners.

“The University of Washington remains committed to learning more about the impacts, reach, challenges and benefits of MOOCs,” said UW President Michael K. Young. “As a large, public research institution with a mission to increase access to education, we’ll continue to explore the forefront of educational delivery, evaluate teaching and learning effectiveness, consider trends, and drive research to improve higher education. MOOCs are part of this, and joining with edX adds to our portfolio of high-quality, free offerings for the public.”

Among institutions offering new Massive Open Online Courses the last year, the UW was the first university to provide a way for those online students to obtain credit. Many UW Coursera students are provided an option to convert from the free online courses to an enhanced, small cohort, instructor-led, UW online for-credit class that requires additional homework, assignments, evaluations, and a fee.

“The research focus and Harvard/MIT roots of edX will allow us to further our knowledge of MOOCs and their efficacy,” said David P. Szatmary, vice provost of UW Educational Outreach. “As a leader in online education, we want to help shape this important innovation and define what’s possible.”

Currently, the UW offers 14 Massive Open Online Courses on Coursera. Some are new courses, launching soon. Enrollments for representative UW courses on Coursera are listed below. Numbers reflect the top instance for each individual course to date, since some courses are repeated multiple times throughout the year:

  • Introduction to Computational Finance and Financial Econometrics: 30,578
  • Information and Risk Management: 25,077
  • *Introduction to Public Speaking: 15,929 (*growing daily; course starts June 24, 2013)
  • Computational Methods for Data Analysis: 15,179
  • High Performing Scientific Computing: 14,977
  • Scientific Computing: 13,374
  • Building an Information Risk Management Toolkit: 10,533
  • Designing and Executing Information Security Strategies: 9,206