The two titans of massive online open courses continue to run neck-in-neck in the race up sign up partners. Both edX and Coursera have recently announced the signing of additional partners, with one mainly expanding its reach locally and the other looking beyond the borders of the United States to form relationships with schools in Canada, Europe and beyond.
GigaOM reports that edX, the online education partnership founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, already boast a substantial international presence, with as many as 70% of its students coming from outside the United States. Now, the consortium is announcing the addition of 6 schools that will become the first non-American partners to join the X University Consortium.
The new partners include: Australian National University (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 Texas. With the new additions, edX now counts 12 academic institutions as partners.
Anant Agarwal, president of edX, said that signing up international partners helps the consortium to continue its mission to put the best courses from the most highly esteemed professors online and make them available for free to the largest number of students possible. He also pointed out that although edX has the backing of two of the countries best universities behind it, it continues to think of itself as a startup, although one that puts principles ahead of profits.
Meanwhile, according to The Wall Street Journal, Coursera has announced a few signings of its own. Earlier this week, the company finalized the addition of 29 more schools both in the United States and around the world. The most recent signing brings the number of universities offering courses through the company's platform to 62.
With the impact that Coursera has had on online education it's hard to believe that it launched less than a year ago – drawing funding from a number of big-name venture capitalist investors in Silicon Valley – and already counts more than 2.8 million unique registered users.
Colleges have eagerly put forward faculty to teach the free courses, but few award credit to students who complete those classes. The American Council on Education recently recommended that schools consider granting credit for certain Coursera classes, and is weighing a similar decision for a handful of classes taught by rival Udacity. Separately, edX has made agreements to introduce classes into some Boston-area community colleges.