University of Michigan to Partner with edX


The University of Michigan, which helped found the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider Coursera, will now be partnering with online education platform edX as well.

The first of UM’s edX courses under the title of MichiganX will begin in April of 2016. There will be at least 20 courses from the the University over the next two years, and three that are scheduled to be released early on cover finance, learning analytics, and data science ethics.

Laurel Thomas Gnagey of Michigan News quoted a statement by James Hilton, Vice Provost for the Office of Digital Education & Innovation (DEI):

This new partnership aligns closely with our mission and values. Our core commitment is about experimenting, learning and adapting in order to shape the future of higher education. EdX and Coursera provide very different models with different sweet spots for experimentation. We are thrilled that our faculty will be able to take advantage of both platforms to push the boundaries of discovery.

The first course, “Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making,” will launch on April 5th and last for six weeks of five to six hours each. It will be taught by Gautam Kaul, a professor of finance in the school of business, reports Diane Schaffhauser of Campus Technology. A certificate upon completion will be available for $49.

Kaul, who is the Digital Education & Innovation department’s first “Innovator in Residence,” said:

With the help of strategic investments UM has made in digital learning, I’ve been able to reach nearly a million global learners through MOOCs while transforming the way I engage students on campus. I’m excited to experiment with the edX platform to continue our quest to redefine residential learning.

The second course on analytics will be taught by Timothy McKay, a professor of Physics and Astronomy and an Academic Innovation Fellow with the DEI. The third, which encourages students to “think about the ethical questions surrounding the use, integration and analysis of data,” will be taught by H. V. Jagadish, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

EdX was founded in 2012 by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the goal of offering free, high-quality education to anyone with an internet connection, writes Gen Hummer of the Michigan Daily. Coursera was co-founded in 2012 by the University of Michigan along with the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Princeton University, and two computer science professors from Stanford. Partnering with both, according to UM, will allow them to try different approaches to online learning.

UM plans on growing their Coursera offerings as well. By December, UM says that they will increase from 20 courses on the platform to 50.

James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost of the DEI, reports that the university has reached 3.6 million people through their MOOCs since 2012. He says:

If we continue to harness the best technology and deepen our use of learning analytics, we know the ripple effect of Michigan’s academic excellence and alumni network will be felt around the world.

The university also is working with a third platform, NovoEd.