Penn Joins edX Partnership, Expands Free Online Classes

The University of Pennsylvania today announced a partnership with leading nonprofit online learning platform edX, expanding the University’s open learning course offerings to reach millions of additional learners worldwide.

“Expanding access to higher education remains the highest priority at Penn and is the foremost goal of the Open Learning Initiative. Penn is thrilled to partner with edX, which will allow us to share our high-quality learning opportunities with edX’s group of online learners,” said Edward Rock, director of Open Course Initiatives and Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business Law at Penn.

Penn was among the first universities in the world to use MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, to open its doors to online learners, as one of the four founding university partners of the Coursera platform. The University will continue to add to its online offerings via both Coursera and edX.

Offering free online Penn faculty-led courses across a wide range of disciplines, Penn’s Open Learning Initiative has to date reached more than 2 million learners in nearly 200 countries. The partnership with edX will further extend Penn’s reach, exploration and innovation.

Under the name PennX, the first courses expected to launch on edX in the coming months include “Analyzing Global Trends for Business and Society” taught by Mauro Guillén, the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies Professor in the Wharton School at Penn; “Intellectual Property Law and Policy” taught by R. Polk Wagner, professor of law; and “Going Out on a Limb: The Anatomy of the Upper Limb” with James White, adjunct assistant professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn. 

“We are honored to welcome Penn to the edX platform,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “As a pioneer in online learning, Penn offers a quality, engaging student experience, and we believe their courses will be a tremendous draw for the more than 4 million edX learners around the world.”

“We selected edX to expand our MOOC offerings specifically because of their open source platform,” said Rock. “With open source experimentation, innovation and flexibility, Penn will be able to explore different ways of presenting content online and continue to improve the learning experience. We expect the innovative features of the edX platform to be valuable for our teaching on campus, as we further integrate technology in teaching.”

Additional information on Penn’s Open Learning Initiative is available at

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