With the rapid growth of edX—the virtual learning initiative launched by Harvard and MIT in May 2012—Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) professors are now discussing the possibility of modifying an edX course to target families in Boston, focusing on an issue such as childhood obesity. The notion of offering edX courses for specific audiences was discussed by HarvardX faculty director Robert Lue during a March 18, 2013 meeting in Hong Kong of alumni and business leaders. Harvard President Drew Faust kicked off a week-long trip to Asia at the meeting, where she discussed opportunities and challenges presented by edX’s growth.
Lue, professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology, said in a March 18, 2013 Harvard Gazette article that the idea of adapting edX courses for specific audiences, as HSPH professors are considering, is “an example of the content bringing people together rather than keeping them apart.”
Since its launch, edX has expanded to include 12 institutions of higher education on three continents. One of the first courses offered through HarvardX—Harvard’s branch of the online platform—was an HSPH introductory public health course in biostatistics and epidemiology that drew thousands from around the globe. This spring HSPH is offering a second course, “Human Health and Global Environmental Change.”
HSPH to launch second public health course on edX (HSPH feature)