Distance Learning

edX Taps Partner To Build Out Mobile Learning Capacity

MOOC provider edX is working with a division of wireless technology company Qualcomm to sort out the educator's "mobile first" strategy. The two organizations hope to advance the capabilities of edX's massive open online course platform to work better on mobile devices. As part of the collaboration, Qualcomm Education will provide engineering expertise and license elements of its SDK code for use in edX's open source platform, Open edX.

edX delivers about 500 free courses from numerous institutions, including MIT, Harvard and the University of California Berkeley. Qualcomm develops wireless telecommunications products, including chips that show up in phones from Motorola, Samsung, LG and other companies. The education subsidiary focuses on building out products and services that serve the education sector.

edX CEO Anant Agarwal envisions the "next frontier" for the free service to be able to allow students to take online courses through their mobile devices and to collaborate with other students. "As a leading MOOC provider, edX is committed to expanding access to education for everyone and to drive new ways of learning. We see a significant opportunity for mobile technology to help realize this goal," he said in a prepared statement. "Mobile has transformed many industries and we anticipate it will do the same for education."

On the Qualcomm side, Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs noted that education would benefit by being able to connect people through their mobile devices. "We know that giving students 24/7 access to their learning materials, their teachers and each other can dramatically improve learning. The collaboration with edX is an important step toward expanding access through the power of the mobile platform."

Neither organization provided a timeline for new developments. However, edX and Qualcomm Education have begun their cooperative efforts by putting together a marketing program that invites up to 200 users to sign up for and complete one of several STEM courses on edX and receive an edX-verified certificate for free. Registration must take place by May 20, and the course must be completed by January 30, 2016.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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