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Dartmouth signs on to join Harvard, MIT’s free online course program

HANOVER — Dartmouth College has joined the nonprofit online learning platform edX, founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have been increasingly popular and have rapidly changed access to higher education, Dartmouth College said in its recent announcement.

Through edX’s online platform, students of any age in any location can take courses free of charge, albeit without academic credit, from some of the world’s finest universities.

Started in 2012, edX offers nearly 130 courses and has 1.8 million users.

“I think we are the thirty-second institution to join edX,” said Dartmouth spokesperson Justin Anderson on Friday. “I think that the idea behind it is, yes, to reach a larger audience, but it’s also to learn how we can teach better. Faculty teaching the online courses are going to get a sense of what techniques are working and what techniques are not working.”

The partnership between edX and Dartmouth highlights the college’s commitment to leadership in the use of technology as well as being on the forefront of education, Anderson said.

“Dartmouth is recognized as being one of the premier teaching institutions in the country, and we feel that edX … with its focus on learning how people learn we think it’s a perfect match with Dartmouth and with our mission of being great teachers,” Anderson said.

Dartmouth plans to offer its first MOOC through edX in the fall, with three more to follow.

The courses will be taught by Dartmouth faculty members, who the college said, will receive substantial support from staff in academic computing and the college library to create and manage online course content.

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