Kyoto University will become the first Japanese university to be part of edX, a US based free online learning platform created by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. edX currently offers around 50 free courses from 27 international universities and has 900,000 students from all over the world.
The Japanese university is joining edX to improve the quality of education by competing with other institutions from around the world. They are planning to offer a course called “Science of Life” taught by professor Motonari Uesugi which students can enroll in starting summer and will be launched by edX next spring. Kyoto University President Hiroshi Matsumoto said that they are planning to add courses that will represent not just the university, but the Japanese culture itself, with ‘kanji’ or Japanese classic literature as some of the planned course offerings.
The edX online format allows students to not just watch or read lectures on their respective subjects but also have discussions with the professors and classmates through chatrooms and other virtual platforms. They can also receive course completion certificates once they have fulfilled all the course requirements. Anant Agarwal, president of edX, said that all the participating institutions are committed to providing high-quality education and increasing access to this kind of education to anyone from around the world. They also want to help improve campus education for the participating universities. University of Tokyo earlier this year joined another online learning platform, Coursera, to become the first Japanese institution to be part of the 62 school wide online university.
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