SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stanford University announced Wednesday that it is joining an initiative co-founded by Harvard and MIT to develop a computer system that allows colleges to offer free online courses, a collaboration that school officials said would benefit both educators and students around the globe.
Stanford already has its own fledgling platform for delivering massive open online courses, or MOOCS. The university has decided, however, to suspend work on it in favor of the system created by the two East Coast universities as a separate nonprofit enterprise, called edX, said John Mitchell, vice provost for online learning and a computer science professor at Stanford.
Stanford still plans to offer some of its courses through Coursera, a commercial Internet course provider founded by two Stanford professors. But with the demand for online learning increasing rapidly, it makes sense for academic institutions to team up instead of compete, Mitchell said.
"Together, I think we will have a chance to produce a much better platform than each of us would be able to do individually," he said, adding that the software that emerges from the alliance has the potential to become the "Linux of online learning."