Harvard Provost Alan Garber reflects on the HarvardX/edX anniversary

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Anniversaries offer an opportunity to reflect on the past and contemplate the future. One year ago, we announced the launch of both edX, the not-for-profit open-source online learning platform created by Harvard and MIT, and HarvardX, the partner organization which supports online pedagogy and its application to on-campus education as well as educational research.

Harvard’s activities in interactive teaching and learning are part of a long tradition of pedagogical innovation. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School pioneered the application of the case method of teaching in professional schools. In 1885, the College instituted the elective curriculum, defining the undergraduate experience across the country, with President Charles William Eliot referring to the change as “the most generally useful piece of work which this university has ever executed.”

Two centuries later, this spirit of educational innovation inspired one of the first undergraduate computer science degrees and a groundbreaking medical education curriculum that integrated clinical teaching and problem solving with basic science. Most recently, the FIELD program has revolutionized MBA education by immersing future business leaders in emerging global markets.