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Monday, October 26, 2015

Harvard: Online learning program must diversify long-term funding sources

Photo: Eric Convey
"HarvardX, the online learning platform closely watched by higher education leaders around the world, is succeeding by many measures but needs to diversify its long-term funding, Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber wrote in 33-page assessment of the program posted online late last week." inform Eric Convey, Senior staff reporter Boston Business Journal.

Sumner statue outside of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Photo: Boston Business Journal 

HarvardX is a Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC. Harvard also works in the online education space through edX, a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Unlike some competing programs, both are nonprofit operations and create open-source platforms that can be easily emulated.

Roughly three years HarvardX was launched, 3 million course registrations have been booked as of this month, Garber wrote. "Our faculty have experienced the extraordinary reach of online courses, teaching many more students in a single instance of a HarvardX course than they could have expected to teach in a classroom over their entire careers."

But the success of the mostly-free courses hasn't resolved the question of how it will be paid for, and big checks from donors and the university won't continue forever, Garber wrote."(The model) cannot be sustained indefinitely at current levels."