You’ve yearned to join the ranks of countless presidents, Supreme Court justices and Nobel laureates, but lacked the grades or money. Now it’s time to break out your button-down collar and penny-less loafers and celebrate. Yesterday, two of the fanciest schools in all the land —Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — jointly announced the launch of edX, a new online initiative aimed at bringing their otherwise expensive classes to the masses free of charge starting this fall. The program is an outgrowth of MITx, an online learning project launched by MIT last December.
MIT President Anant Agarwal said the goal of the $60 million edX initiative is to “educate a billion people around the world” through an open source online platform, which, little does he know, could include you sitting naked and drunk at your computer at 3am screaming lines from Good Will Hunting at your screen.
The first courses will be announced this summer and will include free video lessons and quizzes, plus immediate feedback from professors at both universities.
The only down side? Classes will be non-credit only, so you won’t be able to replace your University of Phoenix degree with a gratis Harvard degree just yet. But if you’re looking for a status conscious reason not to go to grad school, the answer just got a lot more pretentious.