ANU bets the future on edX.

Barcham 21 February 2013 4

ANU has become the first Australian university to become a part of edX, and online education initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Our national university was one of five new partners announced by edX to partake in what they are calling an “online education revolution”.

“It is very exciting to be part of edX, to ensure that ANU programs, the great staff we have and the innovative education we offer is seen by thousands of people around the world,” he said.

Launched in April last year, edX is a massive online open course platform that offers university level courses in a variety of disciplines for no charge. ANU has committed two new courses to the platform. Astrophysics taught by Nobel Prize winner Professor Schmidt and his RSAA colleague Dr Paul Francis, and Engaging India, taught by Dr McComas Taylor and Dr Peter Friedlander from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

“ANU prides itself on the generation of new knowledge, and edX provides the University with the platform to engage with alumni, current and future students, and the globe in innovation.”

E-learning is becoming quite an attractive replacement for a traditional university education, however it has drawn a lot of criticism in a great many areas. There are concerns over everything from quality standards to the removal of face to face contact from the learning experience. However it’s also difficult to deny that providing free online access to lecturers like Professor Brian P. Shmidt isn’t a worthwhile cause.

ANU students and staff are invited to nominate lecturers and courses for future ANUx courses.
To access the survey, go to:

For more information visit the edX website.

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4 Responses to ANU bets the future on edX.
Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 5:21 pm 23 Feb 13

artuoui said :

When I imagine the future of online education, I see isolated students holed up in their homes, rarely seeing or talking to any of their fellow students- or their lecturers either.

Artuoui, like many aspects of our digital lives, whether you connect with other users is very much up to you. A growing group of Canberra people who never knew each other outside Twitter now get together for monthly dinners via #CBRtweetup. Through the #CSIROtweetup for the Mars Curiosity launch here in Canberra, I have many friends around Australia and the world, a changing career direction, I’m a guest on science podcasts and write for We have friends to catch up with whenever one of us travels to the other’s town.

And the Coursera courses provide the structure to allow students to build strong self-supporting communities through online discussion forums, as well as through Goggle+ Communities and Facebook Groups. Students help each other in much the same way they do in person. We connect with our lecturers and each other through live Google+ Hangouts. And we develop lasting friendships.

Online education just involves a new way of connecting and thinking. But isolated? Not at all.

artuoui artuoui 2:23 pm 23 Feb 13

I love that photo of the young, attractive people interacting socially in theopen air carrying their notebook computers.

When I imagine the future of online education, I see isolated students holed up in their homes, rarely seeing or talking to any of their fellow students- or their lecturers either. Which is at least more convenient than hanging around outside, relying entirely on your computer battery life

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 10:05 pm 22 Feb 13

Well I’ve finished my first MOOC course through Coursera – Introduction to Astronomy trough Duke Uni in US. And I’m one week away from finishing my second course – Astrobiology through Edinburgh Uni. Starting Human Physiology through Uni of Melbourne next week.
None of them have been peer reviewed.
The first one was more Astrophysics than straight astronomy and very hard maths.

The news went through my twitter feed like wildfire yesterday, with plenty of people interested in Brian’s course – myself included! I went straight to the edX page to enrol. But it isn’t ready yet.

NoAddedMSG NoAddedMSG 8:59 am 22 Feb 13

It is indeed an interesting idea, and while I have met a lot people who have started a MOOC, I have never met anyone who actually completed it. A bit part of the issue is that any assessment is peer marked and thus often problematic (and sometimes, hilariously illogical, as you might expect from something which involves people on the internet.)

I suspect MOOCs will not last long in their current format.

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