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X University Consortium goes international

Students in Austrailia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Canada can now feel more represented in the edX universe than ever before. The Australian National University (ANU), Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, McGill University and the University of Toronto in Canada, and Rice University in Texas joined edX on Wednesday, according to an edX press release.

The five international universities are the first schools outside the U.S. to join the edX enterprise. EPFL, Rice, and University of Toronto also offer courses on Coursera, another online platform for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that has often been characterized as edX’s main competitor in the field. According to the press release, the six new universities are expected to start offering classes on edX in late 2013.

“We have had an international student community from the very beginning, and bringing these leading universities, from North America and Europe and the Asia Pacific into the edX organization will help us meet the tremendous demand we are experiencing,” said Anant Agarwal, president of edX, in the press release. “Each of these schools was carefully selected for the distinct expertise they bring to our growing family of edX institutions. We remain committed to growing edX to meet the needs of the world while maintaining a superior learning experience for all.”

While the exact courses offered by each of these international universities have yet to be determined, the press release mentioned a few classes that users can expect to see from the new partners, including Astrophysics (taught by Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt) on ANUx, Water Treatment Engineering (by Jules van Lier) on DelftX, and Terrestrial Energy System (by Bryan Kanrey) on TorontoX. Other notable new offerings on edX include 7.00x (The Secret of Life) from MITx, an introductory biology course taught by Eric S. Lander adapted from 7.012 Introductory Biology, starting on March 5.

—Stan Gill