Purdue joins online course group founded by Harvard, MIT

To attract more students to its online courses, Purdue University has partnered with a high-profile consortium started by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The consortium, called EdX, was founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012. It now includes 64 academic institutions, including several Ivy League universities, as well as prestigious institutions around the world, such as the California Institute of Technology, Canada’s McGill University and the Sorbonne in Paris.

The only other Indiana institution that's part of the consortium is the University of Notre Dame.

EdX offers so-called massively open online courses, or MOOCs, to anyone in the world. Students cannot earn credit at the universities that offer those courses, but EdX does offer credentials for those who pass the courses.

Purdue professors will start offering courses on EdX in February, with courses on organic electronic devices, strategic communication, and nanoelectronics.

Purdue chemical engineering professor Bryan Boudouris will teach a course on organic electronic devices, Purdue communications professor Bart Collins will teach a course on strategic communication, and Purdue computer scientist Supriyo Datta will start a course featuring his approach to nanoelectronics.

"These classes offered by Purdue through edX could dramatically increase the number of students who could take a given course—anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand students," said Purdue chemical engineering professor Bryan Boudouris, who will teach the course on organic electronic devices. "Hopefully, people will think of Purdue when they think about polymer electronics now."

Purdue already offers 40 courses online to other universities via its Purdue NexT initiative. Purdue intends to develop 10 new courses for EdX during its two-year commitment to the consortium.

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