Free Online Ivy League Classes Through edX

Judy at Harvard, 2011. 
You might wonder if there's some sort of catch here. We assure you: there is not. This program has been widely publicized, universally praised and is hugely popular, and for those of you who are not yet familiar with edX, here's a short summary. A few years ago, top-notch Ivy League (and other) universities got together to revolutionize education and to allow every student on the globe with an internet connection to take classes at some of the world's best universities. These classes are called MOOCs (massive online open classes). The pilot started with just a few highly technical classes, but has since expanded. There are several platforms, including EdX (an initiative by the venerable Harvard University and MIT) and Coursera, which offers more than 200 courses, including Natural Language Processing, which sounds fascinating.

Some classes can be started whenever the student desires, while others run on a set schedule. Some require intense work and participation, while others are more flexible and less time-consuming. Have a look at the individual classes offered. Upon successful completion of the course (meaning earning a passing grade), students are issued a certificate of completion by the university that offered the class. For instance,  if you took a Harvard class through edX, the certificate will say HarvardX. We don't know about you, but we've always wanted a document that has our name and Harvard's on it. 

We are thinking about enrolling in at least one class this spring. Here are the edX classes that have piqued our interest:
It does sound a bit too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, it's the next big thing in education, and if we see any potential downside to this fantastic program (remember we have not yet taken any classes) for linguists, it's that most of these classes are quite heavy on science and technology (which the sci-tech translators will love). Some of these classes, such as Artificial Intelligence, have a long list of prerequisites and are truly intended for those with a strong background in math and statistics. 

So there you have it: free online Ivy League classes. How's that for professional development? 


Jesse Tomlinson on January 9, 2013 at 9:18 AM said...

Thank you very much for this information. This is such a great opportunity for personal and professional development. The Ancient Greek Hero also sounds really interesting to me. I am going to share this information on my linkedin profile.

Stephanie M. said...

Thanks for this link! I've signed up for Human Health and Global Environmental Change. Sounds like a lot of material to cover in one class...

Rachel M. on January 10, 2013 at 2:48 AM said...

I can attest to how wonderful some of these classes can be. You just have to explore the opportunities, because each program is structured a little differently and each instructor has a somewhat different approach to teaching on these platforms. (In my experience, you have to be ready to try out a few classes just to see how they work and find the best fit for you.)

One of my main hobbies is computer programming, so I have been having a blast with the MOOCs! I took a game programming class in the fall through Coursera/Rice University, and I am just now finishing up a general computer science course through edX/MITx. Can't wait for the certificate with the name MITx on it! ;) I am planning to try the global poverty course, as well — international development and humanitarian aid are my favorite professional subjects.

The best thing about MOOCs is that they are continuing to grow and develop. Even if the subjects are currently more math and science oriented, we can see other subjects starting to pop up and can expect more growth in those areas as demand for them grows.

Unknown on January 10, 2013 at 5:22 AM said...

Wonderful opportunity, thank you so much for mentioning it!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on January 10, 2013 at 8:58 AM said...

@Jesse: Happy to hear that you might be taking the Ancient Greek Hero class! Thanks for spreading the word about this awesome program.

@Stephanie M.: Thanks for the comment! Excellent that you have already signed up. We are still trying to decide which classes to take...

@Rachel M.: Oh, that's wonderful; you already have some experience with MOOCs! Great advice on trying out a variety of classes to see what works. And wow, you sure have a very cool hobby indeed. Thanks for sharing your insight!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on January 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM said...

@Yana: Our pleasure! Just saw on Twitter that you already signed up for a class -- great!

EP on January 14, 2013 at 11:44 AM said...


Dolores on January 31, 2013 at 3:18 AM said...

This is fantastic! UNBELIEVABLE!! Thanks Judy! Always sooo generous and sharing everything you encounter! This seems to be very interesting and useful for our continuous training.

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