Google, EdX Partner to Expand Free Online Learning

By Tim Sohn

Google and EdX, a nonprofit organization created by MIT and Harvard to provide free online courses (MOOCs), are partnering to launch, an open-source online platform that will allow for the expansion of free blended and online learning. The site, which will expand MOOC offerings beyond colleges and universities, is expected to launch in the first half of 2014, according to the website.

Other institutions, businesses, governments, and teachers, will also be able to run MOOCs.

EdX provides free online courses from 28 colleges and universities, including MIT, Harvard University, Berkeley University of California, The University of Texas System, Australian National University, TU Delft, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and Georgetown University.

Together, Google and experts at EdX partner schools will use the open-source learning platform Open EdX that will allow for more users to take courses and more institutions to offer them. It will be built using Google technology.

In a blog post, Google wrote: “A year ago, we released Course Builder, an experimental platform for online education at scale … Google has published a number of courses including Introduction to Web Accessibility which opens for registration today. This platform is helping to deliver on our goal of making education more accessible through technology, and enabling educators to easily teach at scale on top of cloud platform services.” As a contributor to Open EdX, it will take what it learned with Course Builder and apply it to, according to the company.

How the partnership will work is, Google will handle the platform development in collaboration with experts from EdX partner schools, such as MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, Stanford, University of Western Australia, University of Queensland, and Tsinghua University. Also, EdX and Google will work together on research focusing on “how technology can transform learning and teaching on campus and beyond.”

“We have long admired Google’s commitment to open access to information, and we believe they will be a perfect partner to work with as we shape the next generation of open education and learning,” said Anant Agarwal, president of EdX. “Google shares our mission to improve learning both on-campus and online. Working with Google’s world-class engineers and technology will enable us to advance online, on-campus and blended learning experiences faster and more effectively than ever before.”

Colleges and universities interested in hosting courses on can go to Businesses and nonprofits can visit, and instructors and course authors should check out