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Davidson Joins Leading Online Learning Consortium edX

New technology will enhance student learning, expand opportunities for personal contact with talented faculty

Davidson College announced today a partnership with edX, a non-profit enterprise founded by Harvard and MIT, to produce a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) over the next several years. Davidson is one of the first leading liberal arts colleges to collaborate with edX on the XConsortium platform, which is now comprised of 26 global educational institutions. 

"This is an exciting day for Davidson as we realize our commitment to exploring new technologies that can enhance student learning and expand opportunities for contact with our talented faculty," Davidson President Carol Quillen said. "Like the founders of edX, we seek to understand how MOOCs can best enable more and more people to advance their education, and we believe that this collaboration will extend Davidson's reach and impact for good around the world."

Davidson's agreement with edX gives it the opportunity to offer four "DavidsonX" courses over the next three years.

"Soon we will identify and begin developing DavidsonX courses," said Davidson's Vice President for Academic Affairs Clark Ross. "Members of our faculty will bring their considerable talents to bear on this project, creating challenging and exciting material that will be attractive to edX learners. We view this opportunity as a tribute to our ability to provide the quality courses edX wishes to showcase."

While MOOCs have typically focused on offering free online courses, edX's vision is much larger. EdX is building an open source educational platform and a network of the world's top universities to improve education both online and on campus while conducting research on how students learn.

To date, edX has more than 900,000 individuals on its platform. The edX courses are designed to take advantage of the features and benefits of online learning, including self-paced learning, online discussion groups, wiki-based collaborative learning, instant assessment, and game-like experiences. All courses use an open-source software that allows experts, educational institutions and even companies and organizations to mount and customize courses.

"We are pleased to welcome Davidson College to edX," said Anant Agarwal, president of edX. "Davidson is a leading liberal arts institution and their courses, developed by innovative faculty, will appeal to our growing, diverse community of students. We look forward to working with Davidson to improve learning online and on campus through research on the edX platform."

"This partnership exemplifies our obligation to understand how new technologies might strengthen the hallmarks of the academic experience at Davidson," Quillen noted. "Like many things, this is an experiment. We can't predict exactly how this will go, but we know we will learn a lot."