Princeton University, which Offers Courses on Coursera, Joins the edX Consortium


Princeton University has joined the edX Consortium as a charter member.

Its first course on is scheduled for October, “Making Government Work in Hard Places”. The second one will come in January 2016: “The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges”.

Jeff Himpele, director for teaching initiatives and programs at the University’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, said that the decision to join edX is a response to the needs of faculty members.

“Faculty continue to ask for an expanding set of online tools, different kinds of environments, as well as tools for learning analytics they can use to study student learning in open courses and in private campus courses.”

Professor Jennifer Widner, who will teach “Making Government Work in Hard Places”, explained that she was attracted to edX by its clear, simple structure.

“Online courses can be confusing to navigate. EdX’s clarity is a highlight and is important if not all users speak the same language.”

Maria Garlock, who will lead the “The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges” course, said that she hopes to make engineering education accessible to everyone.

“I believe that all of us, not just engineers, should be educated about the design of our civil works and their history and significance,” she stated.

“We’re joining a consortium of edX member universities whose primary mission is expanding access to education and advancing it through research,” Himpele said. “There are a number of faculty at Princeton who want to do research on open online courses and others who will be able to enhance their teaching on campus by analyzing student learning in online environments connected with their courses.”

“Princeton’s commitment to open education for both learners and faculty aligns with the edX mission to increase access to education, enhance teaching and learning, and to conduct research,” said Anant Agarwal, edX chief executive and MIT professor. “We are honored to welcome Princeton and connect this prestigious university with the edX global learning community as we join efforts to make high-quality education accessible for all.”


“EdX also offers an open-source platform, Open edX, which will allow the University greater flexibility to design and develop custom sites for courses offered on campus”, Himpele said.

“In adopting these customizable environments, it will allow us to take further our experiments in relating online learning environments to our curriculum on campus and integrating them with existing courses or creating new courses or course modules,” Himpele said.

Princeton also offers open online courses on the Coursera platform and plans to offer courses on Kadenze, an online learning platform specifically created to support the arts and creative technologies. The University has also offered courses through NovoEd.

Princeton’s open online courses are free and do not result in credit.