Massachusetts is home to many prestigious public and private colleges and universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, and the University of Massachusetts, that already incorporate online elements into traditional coursework as well as offer full online classes to students. While there are many state-led initiatives that have helped promote better overall higher education as well as online schools in Massachusetts, several individual schools have made big changes to ensure that online education has a more profound presence in university school system.
Higher Learning Initiatives
In May 2012, MIT and Harvard collaborated to launch edX, an initiative designed to increase the amount of online learners on a global scale. EdX is an open source platform intended to build on campus-based learning. Some features include video lectures, interactive quizzes, immediate feedback from instructors, and access to an online laboratory, similar to those found in online schools in Maine. Those who can prove mastery of a particular open-source course may be eligible to receive a certificate. This platform can potentially make resources available to people everywhere.
Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)
In early 2012, Massachusetts became the eighth state to join the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ national initiative called the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College. The initiative’s main goal is to compare, assess, and then publicly report the correlation among curriculum, real student work, and levels of success (rather than just evaluate scores of standardized testing) within peer universities and colleges in other states. It helps higher education boards highlight areas of excellence and see where improvements need to be made in the Massachusetts university and college system.
The Vision Project
The Vision Project is a competitive state grant program designed to spark the growth of improvement in public higher education. Through this initiative, 18 public colleges and universities in Massachusetts will receive additional state-sponsored monetary awards for their efforts to help create innovative programs, such as those that will expand online learning opportunities. The initiative was launched in 2011 to help Massachusetts become a national leader in post secondary education and the workforce.