Microsoft to Offer Free edX Courses on Mobile, Cloud Technology


Microsoft has partnered with online learning platform edX to provide free technology courses taught by Microsoft experts.

Enrollment is now open, and instruction begins at the end of March with more courses beginning in April. The nonprofit’s  courses are free, writes Rhea Kelly of Campus Technology, unless the student wishes to obtain a verified certificate upon course completion for $90, which can be used to prove skills to potential employers.

The instruction focuses on cloud and mobile technology and includes assessments, exercises, and interactive coding activities to emulate a classroom experience as closely as possible. The seven new courses are Programming with C#, Introduction to TypeScript, Introduction to Bootstrap, Querying with Transact SQL, Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure, Introduction to Office 365 APIs, and Windows PowerShell Fundamentals.

They are aimed at both professionals and beginners to the subject, writes Frederick Lane of CIO Today, and will be taught by Anders Hejlsberg of Microsoft, who helped develop some of the technology. According to Sue Gee of I Programmer, some of the courses are six weeks and others are less.

Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, said of the partnership:

We are pleased to welcome Microsoft to edX. Microsoft has already made significant contributions to the edX platforms by developing an XBlock that enables course creators to embed Office Mix lectures into their edX courses. With these new MOOCs [massive open online courses], millions of edX learners around the world will gain important technical skills to excel in their careers.

Office Mix is an education technology that allows teachers to produce interactive videos that support recordings, screenshots, hyperlinks, and digital ink.

Steve Guggenheimer of Microsoft said that the initiative is another step in a decades-long commitment to improving education for businesses and individuals:

Microsoft has a long history of working within the community to make coding and app development more accessible and rewarding to the growing number of people who want to help shape the technology industry. Together with edX we can provide new opportunities for students and developers from around the world to create innovative applications, services, and experiences that have a meaningful impact on today’s mobile and cloud-centric world.

edX was founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and offers courses in a huge variety of subjects in addition to technology. Since its founding, it has partnered with a broad range of universities to offer courses at the collegiate level, some of which are self-paced and others that have a weekly time requirement. edX also allows for a connection to peers in the same courses and offers some courses in languages other than English.

edX includes a student honor code, which prohibits inappropriate conduct and promotes a safe learning environment for all students.