Microsoft and EdX Partner To Offer Free Online IT Classes
EdX announced on Tuesday that it will be joining forces with Microsoft, to offer seven online programming courses. Students can take the courses for free, or for a small fee obtain a "verified" certificate they can show to current or potential employers. EdX is a nonprofit learning initiative that has collaborated with universities like Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley to offer online courses and MOOCs (massive open online courses) to students around the world.
The initial slate of courses is "focused on the most widely applicable, in-demand technical skills and feature interactive coding, assessments, and exercises," Microsoft General Manager of Learning Experience Alison Cunard said in a blog post on Microsoft's Born to Learn site.
"Microsoft is the first corporate member to offer MOOCs on edX.org, supporting our shared goal of increased access to high-quality education for anyone, anywhere, at any time," Cunard said. "We believe access to learning opportunities for key technology skills will empower edX’s broad global community to be successful in the world enabled by mobile and cloud technologies."
Courses for Both Pros and Newbies
The first software development courses announced by Microsoft and edX are designed to provide both experienced and novice programmers with exposure to cutting-edge app and code development education within the Microsoft ecosphere.
The Microsoft courses include: Programming with C#; Introduction to TypeScript; Introduction to Bootstrap; Querying with Transact SQL; Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure; Introduction to Office 365 APIs; and Windows PowerShell Fundamentals.
“Microsoft has a long history of working within the community to make coding and app development more accessible and rewarding to the growing number of people who want to help shape the technology industry,” said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President & Chief Evangelist, Developer Experience at Microsoft. “Together with edX we can provide new opportunities for students and developers from around the world to create innovative applications, services, and experiences that have a meaningful impact on today’s mobile and cloud-centric world.”
The first two MOOCs -- TypeScript and Building Cloud Apps -- are scheduled to start on March 31, according to the Microsoft page on the edX Web site. The remaining courses start one to two weeks after that.
Participants in a MOOC can either audit the course for free or work toward a verified certificate. Those who choose to audit have complete access to all the course material, activities, tests, and forums. With satisfactory work and adherence to the MOOC honor code, an auditing student will receive an honor code certificate to document participation in the course.
Alternatively, students can pay a one-time fee of $90 and, at the end of the course, receive a verified certificate that edX and Microsoft suggest they can use for job applications, career advancement, or school applications. As this is the first partnership between edX and a corporate entity, it is not clear yet just how much weight a verified certificate will carry.