The "edX Idea": Higher Education Credentials for Everyone

Beyond a consortium, educational portal and open source platform, edX is a powerful concept structured into a community of learners, educators, technologists and entrepreneurs.

Dr. Joshua Kim, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at Dartmouth University, has expressed this thought in an article written for “Inside the Higher Ed”.

“A meaningful higher education credential should be available to every person in the world rather than the small minority”, says Joshua Kim.

In other words, “edX is an idea”. And there is nothing in this world as powerful as an idea.

You might think that Coursera, Udacity or another powerful start-up can also develop this goal.

Well, so far no one except edX has formulated the goal of reaching one billion learners in ten years. The edX consortium has a key advantage over Coursera: it is a non-profit organization and its software is fully open source.

And a third one: the willingness to partner with the software and instructional design community. Beth Porter, VP of Product at edX, said during the “Open edX Universities Symposium” that “the goal (of the one billion learners) cannot be achieved without the help of the open source community”.

Joshua Kim highlights that “higher education credentials need not be scarce”.

  • “EdX is not really a consortium. (Although it is a consortium). EdX is not really an open platform. (Although it is an open platform). EdX is not really a website and a global aggregator of lifelong learners. (Although it is both those things).”
  • “What in our world has transitioned from scarcity to abundance? (Or near abundance?). Light. Clean water. Food. Books. Bandwidth. Music. News. Processing Power. Storage. Information. (…) Some people (including me) think that energy will make the transition from scarcity to abundance in our lifetimes.”
  • “The idea of edX is that a higher education credential is a right for everybody, not a privilege of the few. (…) What I find amazing is that the members of the edX Consortium seem to think that it can be done.”
  • “A move to end the global scarcity in higher education credentialing will require a non-linear advance. (…) “The answer will only be found by experimentation and action (rather than talking and defending the status quo).”