Edx opened up on a student's computer. EdX is an open online course provider that was created by Havard University and MIT. (Nahjiah Miller/B&W Staff)

Lehigh to partner with online learning platform edX


Lehigh is partnering with the global online educational platform edX to provide courses to those interested in furthering their education. 

Lehigh is one of more than 160 institutions partnering with edX to bring educational offerings online. The platform will be extended to Lehigh community members and the greater population.

EdX was launched in 2012, funded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is mainly used by higher education institutions that provide courses in subjects ranging from music to medicine.

Oliver Yao, Lehigh’s interim deputy provost for Graduate Education, is leading the partnership. He said they are developing the first program and plan to launch it by the end of the summer.

Lehigh will offer a MicroBachelor’s program with a business analytics focus with the intent to prepare students for Lehigh’s business analytics master’s degree, as well as a professional certificate program in data analytics.

These courses will be available to any edX user and will offer not-for-credit professional certificates. Participants do not need to be enrolled at Lehigh to take Lehigh’s edX courses.

Provost Nathan Urban said in an email the courses will be offered in a manner similar to the way Lehigh offers executive education classes. In this model, some of the courses may be taught by Lehigh faculty, while other courses may be taught by outside experts.

According to the edX website, edX programs are free for users enrolled in their free audit track. However, if users wish to enroll in the verified track, which allows them to earn a certificate for a course and complete assignments, there is a fee that can range from $50 to $300.

Yao said he is eager to expand Lehigh’s course offerings. 

Yao wants in-person and online formats to work together to maximize educational opportunities.

“One principle for Lehigh to do in this partnership is make sure whatever we are offering from edX is complementary to Lehigh’s current offerings,” Yao said. “Its extension, not competition.”

Yao said the online courses will include an introduction to programming, basic statistics and fundamental economics to serve as a crash course before students enter the master’s program.

For those not seeking a graduate degree outside of edX, the platform can serve as a way for individuals to learn more about a specific field.

Caroline Mierzwa, ‘23, is finishing her English degree at Lehigh and is pursuing a masters of education in secondary English through Lehigh’s  4+1 program. 

“Even though I would never pursue a degree in any kind of analytics, I would definitely be interested in looking into courses online to learn about subjects I never had the chance to take class on in my undergraduate (years),” Mierzwa said.

According to the website, edX aims to open educational opportunities to those who aren’t able to take the conventional college route. The courses are accessible to those with a device and WiFi connection any time of any day and do not require a solidified schedule like on-campus courses.

Yao said edX gives those who don’t have the luxury of time and commitment an opportunity to expand their education. 

“We’re developing online to aim for different populations for different purposes,” Yao said. 

Clarissa Chun, ‘22 ‘23G, is in Lehigh’s masters of science in management program. Chun said she doesn’t see online learning completely taking over her program but understands the appeal for those who aren’t on campus. 

“It takes away that barrier in learning, and some people might feel comfortable being able to do programs in the comfort of their own home or in wherever they want to be,” Chun said.

Yao said he hopes to implement more opportunities within data analytics with potential concentrations in sports and hospitality on edX. He also hopes to diversify its offerings.

He said he is excited to see the program’s progression in the future.

“Right now we’re still on the forefront of that innovative news,” Yao said. “Hopefully, this will work out really well for Lehigh and become a successful partnership in the next years to come.”

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