Canberra: ANU has become the only Australian member of edX, the online learning enterprise founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that aims to provide education to one billion people worldwide within 10 years.
edX today announced an expansion of its membership to include ANU, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, McGill University and the University of Toronto in Canada, and Rice University in the United States.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO said that edX was the right fit for ANU, an institution that prides itself at being at the forefront of new knowledge.
“It is very exciting to be part of edX, to ensure that ANU programs, the great staff we have and the innovative education we offer is seen by thousands of people around the world,” he said.
For ANU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, the move to join edX underscores the University’s premier position as a research-intensive university.
“ANU prides itself on the generation of new knowledge, and edX provides the University with the platform to engage with alumni, current and future students, and the globe in innovation.”
“We also share with edX a commitment to the connection of world-class research and education, to the enhancement of online and on campus learning, and to writing the future of learning and teaching”.
A key advocate for ANU to join edX was Nobel Laureate and Professor of Astrophysics at the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) Brian Schmidt, who will teach one of the first ANUx courses.
Professor Schmidt said the platform would enable him and his colleagues to reach students who couldn’t otherwise study at ANU.
“edX brings together the best universities in a non-profit model, which I think is entirely appropriate for ANU, Australia’s national university. It will help us potentially teach students who can’t come to ANU for a range of reasons, but more interestingly, help us reach high school students and help us make up for some of the deficiencies in secondary education around the country due to shortages of highly qualified teachers,” Professor Schmidt said.
The first two ANUx courses will be Astrophysics taught by Professor Schmidt and his RSAA colleague Dr Paul Francis, and Engaging India, taught by Dr McComas Taylor and Dr Peter Friedlander from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. Both courses are expected to be beta tested in 2013, and fully operational in 2014.
ANU students and staff are invited to nominate lecturers and courses for future ANUx courses.