MIT and Harvard University have announced major changes for edX, a nonprofit they launched in 2012 to provide an open online platform for university courses. The edX assets will be acquired by publicly traded educational technology company 2U. and reorganized into the public The company receives benefits under the 2U umbrella.
This transaction is structured to ensure that edX continues in its founding mission. and provides a wide range of protections for edX learners, partners and faculty involved in the course.
In exchange, 2U will transfer $800 million to a nonprofit led by MIT and Harvard to explore the next generation of online education. with many of these resources The non-profit will focus on overcoming inequality in online learning. Part of it explores how to use artificial intelligence to enable personalized learning that is responsive and adapts to each learner̵7;s style and needs.
The nonprofit venture will be overseen by an appointed committee of MIT and Harvard, and future work will draw on ideas from current edX partners, including MIT and Harvard faculty.
Celebrate the past, create a new future
In a letter sent to the MIT community to share the news, President L. Rafael Reif stated that edX employs 160 partner institutions, reaches more than 39 million learners, and enrolls over 110 million courses. What edX does include — and perhaps most importantly — the role edX plays in helping to create a thriving market for online learning,” he wrote.
The transaction announced today has been driven by the rapid and profound change in the online learning market over the past 18 months. With the onset of the global pandemic and the rise of distance learning Publicly traded educational technology companies have attracted big investments. This makes it more challenging for nonprofits to keep up with.
almost a year ago Recognizing the disruptive changes in the market, the edX Committee began to explore what it takes to maintain edX’s commitment to the future.
Reif admitted in his letter that the initial interest from 2U “had become somewhat familiar”, but after months of reflection, discussion and negotiation, He said both sides found a satisfactory path: “The future for edX as a public benefit company will match the resources of for-profit players with the formal mission to serve the public well.”
Encryption is legal in most states. Benefit companies emerged about a decade ago as a legally protected method for companies. in taking action in the public interest This designation allows commercial ventures to try to create a positive impact for social stakeholders while still serving the company’s shareholders. Familiar welfare companies include Patagonia, Kickstarter and Ben and Jerry’s. MIT, The Engine, is also a profitable company.
The future of Open edX
If the deal is approved by state regulators, 2U will pay $800 million for the rights to adopt edX as a subsidiary. and get the current portfolio of edX courses offered, partner management and user base.
However, the Open edX open source software platform based on edX and more than 2,000 other learning sites around the world will not be transferred to 2U. continuously wide This includes continued use by edX.
MIT will continue to offer courses As well as on a new platform known as MITx Online, MIT’s Office of Digital Learning builds and operates MITx Online, a new world-facing platform using Open edX that MIT built for MITx MOOCs
MIT faculty may choose to continue their courses through the new edX after the transaction is complete. or move to MITx Online
Under the terms of the transaction, the edX partner university will have the option to continue offering courses under the same terms as the current agreement. Such transactions are not subject to any restrictions. about the freedom of these institutions to offer courses in other ways or to leave edX.
Other protections For students, partners and employees
in various terms Within the negotiated agreement, 2U adopted edX’s commitment and agreed to protect data for everyone who has used edX to date — more than 39 million learners — including data usage standards that will protect edX users. new
In accordance with these terms, 2U agrees to restrict the use of sensitive personal information at the learner’s choice. Basic contact information is available for 2U for student communication. And learners have the option to continue learning with edX or cancel and have all the information. including basic contact information permanently deleted
Among other agreements as part of the agreement, 2U also intends to:
- Guaranteed affordability through continuity of free follow-up to monitor every course.
- Protect the intellectual property rights of member partners who support MOOCs.
- Ensuring that participating colleges and universities are able to continue under the standing agreement with edX.
- Protect the privacy of personal data for all learners using the edX platform.
- Work to launch an affordable modular bachelor’s degree stackable created from the program MicroBachelors
- Actively contributing to Open edX code improvements to improve engagement, teaching, learning outcomes. and blended learning features
- Increase the number of courses in the non-English speaking market
- It continues to offer a wide variety of courses in different subject areas.
- provide accessibility features for learners with disabilities; and
- It hosts all courses at the member institutions that choose to place on the edX platform.
Finally, 2U plans to retain all current edX employees that are not with the nonprofit that continues to operate under the leadership of Harvard and MIT. Employees will remain in their current roles and teams for the foreseeable future. As 2U defines an ideal timeline and plan to bring the two organizations together.
The transaction, which has been approved by edX boards as well as regulators at MIT and Harvard, is expected to close this fall. Subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory and government approvals. including approval from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
Launching a mission to transform learning
As is the case with edX, the nonprofit will remain an independent organization appointed by MIT and Harvard. However, there will be a substantial increase in funding. And the mission is different: while edX will remain under 2U as a university course aggregator. The nonprofit will focus on developing a more personalized and responsive learning experience. which can be used all over scope of study since high school community college to adults trying to create opportunities for themselves in a changing economy.
Nonprofits will invest in research. Funding a pilot project and promote the use of insights in education. It will also seek cooperation and aim to fund local partners to more effectively serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds. and identifying ways to combine digital tools most effectively with one-on-one support to help students learn. especially those who have learned online. more promise than reality
continuity of vision
Over the past nine years, edX has achieved remarkable success in driving its vision of making high-quality university courses available to people everywhere. With over 3,000 courses offered and over 1.4 million certificates issued to learners, edX has helped create a thriving market for college content. It has also pioneered official university credits for some of its offerings, including innovations such as the MicroMasters and MicroBachelors certification programs.
Sanjay Sarma, MIT vice president for open learning and the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers professors of mechanical engineering, said: “2U’s willingness to help us create a unique deal offers exciting possibilities. “It gives us the opportunity to do what we set out to do from the start — making progress that improves the way teaching and learning takes place.”
“To be honest, online education has become a good thing. It’s not easy to sit in your kitchen or bedroom and attend college,” Reif adds. Educational nonprofits will develop new tools and techniques. to make learning more personal more meaningful And it’s easier for people around the world in every stage of life, career or preparation. That is the path we started with edX and this is the next step on that journey.”