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Posted in: Learner News

Today, we launch our new edX high school initiative–26 MOOCs in a wide variety of subjects specifically geared to high school students around the world.

We know that nearly 150,000 edX learners are high school students, and developing high quality, engaging, and interactive courses to specifically meet the needs of this student population is a high priority for us at edX. These courses will open up a gateway of learning to new knowledge and disciplines for learners across the globe, continuing to increase access to high-quality education for all.

Addressing a crucial need

Studies show that nearly 60 percent of first-year U.S. college students are unprepared for postsecondary studies. This readiness gap between college eligibility and preparedness is costly not only to students, but also to families and institutions.

Our new initiative will address this severe gap and help alleviate these costly disparities, while also meeting the needs of edX learners who have expressed interest in additional entry-level college course offerings – 90 percent of edX learners according to a 2013 survey.

As I’ve written about in the past, these courses could also provide a path to life-long continuous education, where students come into college after having taken their first-year subjects through MOOCs or other AP* courses, study on campus for two years, then enter the workforce to gain real-world skills, taking MOOCs, community college courses or other online courses as needed throughout their career.

From Calculus to World History: high school MOOCs on edx.org

Covering subject areas that range from mathematics to science, English and history, and even college advising and AP onramps, edX high school MOOCs will provide students within the U.S. and around the world the opportunity to pursue challenging, advanced coursework. Currently, 22 high school courses are open for registration, and all 26 will launch within a few months.

Learners will be able to enroll in all 26 edX high school courses for free. We will also offer students a verified certificateoption for a fee that will vary by course.

MOOCs for a global high school audience

With our new high school MOOCs, students can prepare for college and exams and explore new subject areas of interest. Students already enrolled in AP courses in their high schools can use the new edX courses to supplement their learning with additional practice and materials. And, teachers can use the new high school course materials to augment their classroom curriculum.

Leading global universities to create high school courses

The edX high school MOOCs are developed by many of the best universities in the world, including UC Berkeley, Rice, MIT,Georgetown, Davidson and other leading institutions.

To identify the best courses, we issued a request for course proposals to edX member and nonmember institutions, offering seed funding of up to $50,000 per course and support services.

We were truly amazed by the level of interest, and the quality of course proposals. In total, we received 75 proposals from 22 institutions before selecting 26 courses from 14 leading institutions.

Grants from the Wertheimer Fund, Fariborz Maseeh / The Massiah Foundation and other foundations will fund the new high school courses and overall edX content and platform development. In addition, edX will support high school course providers via training services, including pedagogy best practices, media consultation and video transcriptions.

* Advanced Placement and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board, which is not currently in partnership with edX to develop or promote these offerings.

By Anant Agarwal, edX, CEO

Follow Anant Agarwal on Twitter at @agarwaledu.

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