Saying ‘No’ To EdX

This is a lecturehall in the Stewart Science Hall on the Waynesburg University campus in Waynesburg, Pa. (AP)

This is a lecturehall in the Stewart Science Hall on the Waynesburg University campus in Waynesburg, Pa. (AP)

One of the biggest online ventures in higher education got even bigger today. Fifteen more colleges and universities, including Boston University and Berklee College of Music, have joined EdX — the not-for-profit online initiative launched a year ago by MIT and Harvard.

A lofty vision, to say the least. But the sentiment isn’t shared on every campus in America.

On certain campuses, a growing number of faculty believe that free, open, online-courses for hundreds of thousands of students may actually harm higher education. Amherst College is one of those places. The faculty recently voted against joining EdX.


Stephen George, professor of neuroscience and biology at Amherst College.


Boston Globe “One year after Harvard University and MIT launched edX, a $60 million initiative in which colleges offer online classes at no charge, the not-for-profit company announced today that it is doubling the number of participating universities, including the Berklee College of Music and Boston University.”

New Yorker “Many people think that moocs are the future of higher education in America. In the past two years, Harvard, M.I.T., Caltech, and the University of Texas have together pledged tens of millions of dollars to mooc development. Many other élite schools, from U.C. Berkeley to Princeton, have similarly climbed aboard. Their stated goal is democratic reach.”

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