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USM Launches edX Partnership

The University System of Maryland (USM) has entered into a groundbreaking partnership with edX, the nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012 to increase global access to high-quality education. The agreement is designed to further increase student success, as well as the access, affordability, and quality of higher education in Maryland and around the world.

The new partnership brings together a diverse university system comprising 12 institutions—including University of Maryland University College (UMUC), a pioneer in delivering online courses globally and developing innovative online learning models for adult students—with edX’s research to supercharge data analytics that can help improve learning outcomes for diverse student groups.

As USM-member schools, Bowie State University, Coppin State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore will become the first Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) to be among the ranks of edX partner universities.

 “The University System of Maryland partnership with edX draws on several strengths: UMUC’s long history of online learning delivery, the data analytics capacity of edX, and the diversity of the USM’s 12 institutions. We are committed to utilizing academic innovation as a way to maintain quality and decrease costs,” said USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret. “This partnership is a big step in that direction. I am especially pleased that USM’s three historically black institutions are the first to join the edX collaboration.”

The USM will hold membership in edX at the “Contributing Charter Member” level, which includes the ability to share anonymous data edX collects for research purposes, collaborate with the edX engineering team on Open edX platform enhancements, and course design and development assistance.

UMUC has committed $2 million to the USM to support the edX partnership as a strategic priority.

“UMUC’s unique position as the largest public, online university in the country, our mission as the state of Maryland’s open-access university created to serve working adults, and our history as an early and successful adopter of online courses and programs were key drivers in the system’s pursuit of the partnership,” said Javier Miyares, UMUC’s president. “We look forward to working closely with the edX team on a number of fronts to improve access and student success.”

“We are honored to welcome the University System of Maryland to edX,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT Professor. “An innovator in online education, UMUC will offer high-quality education to the global edX learning community and for credit courses that offer pathways from MOOCs to on-campus programs and credit.”

UMUC and the University of Maryland, Baltimore will initiate the first offering under the new agreement, a free Global Health course for health-care workers in developing countries utilizing the edX platform. Partnership projects involving other USM schools are still in the preliminary stages.

The partnership with the University System of Maryland is only the second such agreement for edX with a state university system. EdX entered into a partnership with The University of Texas System in 2014.