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Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Greg Schulz

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City of Boston and edX Partner to Establish BostonX to Improve Educational Access for Residents

EdX, the not-for-profit online learning initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), announced today a pilot project with the City of Boston, Harvard and MIT to make online courses available through internet-connected Boston neighborhood community centers, high schools and libraries. A first-of-its-kind project, BostonX brings together innovators from the country’s center of higher education to offer Boston residents access to courses, internships, job training and placement services, and locations for edX students to gather, socialize and deepen learning.

“We must connect adults and youth in our neighborhoods with the opportunities of the knowledge economy,” said Mayor Tom Menino. “BostonX will help update our neighbors’ skills and our community centers. As a first step, I’m pleased to announce a pilot with Harvard, MIT and edX, their online learning initiative, which will bring free courses and training to our community centers.”

BostonX builds on edX’s mission of expanding access to education and delivering high-quality courses on its cutting-edge platform using innovative tools and educational techniques. The City of Boston will provide BostonX sites at community centers with computer access and basic computer training, support for internships, career counseling, and job transitioning. Harvard, MIT and edX will work with the city to provide courses selected to eliminate skills gaps, in-person lessons from affiliated instructors, training in online learning best practices and certificates of mastery for those who successfully complete the courses.

“EdX’s innovative content, learning methodologies and game-like laboratories and teaching methods are transforming education, from 16-year-old students in Bangladesh, to community college students at Bunker Hill and MassBay, and now learners across Boston,” said Anant Agarwal, President of edX. “We’re thrilled to be able to partner with Mayor Menino and the City of Boston to provide this first-ever experience and hope that this idea will spread and create a number of CityX’s around the world, including Cambridge, Massachusetts where edX was founded.”

This new pilot with the City of Boston follows another edX project with two Boston-area community colleges. This month, Bunker Hill and MassBay Community Colleges began offering an adapted version of the MITx 6.00x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming course at their respective campuses. The BostonX initiative goes one step further by allowing, encouraging and supporting residents of all ages, regardless of social status or neighborhood, to participate in life changing educational opportunities.

About edX

EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on transforming online and on-campus learning through groundbreaking methodologies, game-like experiences and cutting-edge research. EdX provides inspirational and transformative knowledge to students of all ages, social status, and income who form worldwide communities of learners. EdX uses its open source technology to transcend physical and social borders. We’re focused on people, not profit. EdX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA.

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