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EdX launches new high school initiative

In a new initiative for edX, last Tuesday, the online platform spearheaded by MIT and Harvard launched 26 new courses aimed at high school students, according to The Boston Globe.

The new subjects offered include English, computer science, algebra, calculus, and several Advanced Placement (AP) courses, such as AP Environmental Science and AP Biology. According to edX, fourteen institutions were involved in developing these courses, including MIT, Rice, the University of California Berkeley, Georgetown, and public high schools such as Weston Public High School.

As a MOOC provider founded by MIT and Harvard, edX previously offered courses geared primarily towards university-level students. The new courses were partly prompted by a 2013 survey in which 90 percent of users displayed interest in entry-level college courses. The pivot was also motivated by the fact that 150,000 of the 3 million users on the edX platform are high-school students.

According to edX CEO Anant Agarwal, a professor in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, the high school initiative will address the “gap between college eligibility and preparedness.”

The 26 courses were selected from a pool of 75 courses proposed by 22 institutions. Currently 22 high school courses are open, and the remaining four will open within the next few months.

All of the new courses are offered free of charge but require a fee to obtain a verified certificate. These verified certificates provide proof of the course completion for job and college applications.

—Zareen Choudhury