Dartmouth announced today that it has joined edX, the nonprofit online learning platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The partnership underscores the College’s commitment to leadership in the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.
“As home to some of the finest teachers in higher education, we are excited to explore how new technologies can further the reach of our excellence,” says Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon ’77. “By joining edX, we enable our faculty to pave the way for the future, discovering new ways to teach that will take Dartmouth classrooms to the world.”
The increasing popularity of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, has been rapidly changing access to higher education. Through edX’s online platform, students of any age in any location can take courses free of charge (without academic credit) from some of the world’s finest universities, now including Dartmouth. EdX launched in 2012 and now has nearly 130 courses and 1.8 million unique users.
Q&A With Kim and Cattier
Josh Kim and Alan Cattier ’86 talk about why Dartmouth’s partnership with edX is a winning proposition for the College. “Technology has disrupted every industry that it has touched, and the key for Dartmouth is finding ways that we can leverage the potential of technology to build on our unique strengths as a leader in both education and scholarship,” says Kim.
Read an interview with both of them.
As a member of edX, Dartmouth will offer its first MOOC in fall 2014, with three more to follow. The courses will be taught by Dartmouth faculty members, who will receive substantial support from staff in Academic Computing and the Library to create and manage online course content.
EdX’s mission to expand access to high quality education while improving outcomes, online and in the classroom, is supported by the organization’s commitment to research on effective teaching and learning. The scale of edX’s MOOCs enables faculty to innovate and evaluate the results using large amounts of data on student interaction with online course material.
“Technology is rapidly changing the landscape of higher education,” says Interim Provost Martin Wybourne. “Leveraging data to evaluate and improve learning is critical to the effective application of technology.”
“We are pleased to welcome Dartmouth College, one of the world’s leading academic institutions, to the edX consortium” says Anant Agarwal, president of edX. “Dartmouth shares the consortium’s commitment to expanding data-driven research on teaching and learning to create the best student outcomes online and on campus.”
The announcement follows the 2013 appointments of Josh Kim as Dartmouth’s first director of digital learning programs and Alan Cattier ’86 as director of Academic Computing. Kim and Cattier are responsible for leading Dartmouth’s efforts to innovate with learning technologies, including edX, and helping faculty across the institution implement technology in support of their teaching goals.
“EdX is one in a series of initiatives in digital teaching and learning,” explains Kim. “These include the transition to Canvas as the campus learning management system and increased support from Academic Computing and the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) for a range of exciting faculty-led efforts to leverage technologies to bring new, active, experiential elements into their classes.”
Michael Mastanduno, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, says, “The decision to join edX reflects enthusiasm among our faculty to explore new classroom technologies and creative opportunities in digital learning.”
The recommendation was issued by the faculty-led Committee on Tech-Enabled Education Initiatives. Chaired by Interim Vice Provost Lindsay Whaley, the group was convened in 2013 to consider whether and how Dartmouth might enter an agreement with a third-party online learning platform. The partnership with edX also reflects ideas captured in the 2013 Digital Dartmouth Strategic Planning working group report.