Arizona State University is teaming up with with edX, a nonprofit, open-source education provider, to offer several massive open online courses (MOOCs), including Western Civilizations: Ancient and Medieval Europe.
It is part of a new program, known as the Global Freshman Academy, which will give learners anywhere in the world the opportunity to earn freshman-level university credit after successfully completing a series of digital immersion courses hosted on edX, designed and taught by leading scholars from ASU. By allowing students to learn, explore and complete courses before applying or paying for credit, the Global Freshman Academy reimagines the freshman year and reduces academic and monetary stress while opening a new path to a college degree for many students.
“At ASU, we’re committed to academic inclusion and student success, regardless of a student’s family circumstances. We will not be successful unless we reach talent from all backgrounds around the world, and the worldwide reach of the revolutionary edX platform allows us to open this program to anyone with the drive to obtain their degree,” said Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow. “The Global Freshman Academy will empower students to prepare for college and achieve what they may not have thought they could. There are many pathways to success, both academically and in life. This is now one of them.”
Starting in the fall of 2015, the Global Freshman Academy will offer a collection of first-year courses designed to fulfill a specific set of general education requirements. These general studies courses will include mathematical studies, humanities, arts and design, social-behavioral sciences and natural sciences. Upon completion of each Global Freshman Academy course, students who pass the final exam will have an option to pay a small fee per credit hour to get college credit for the course.
Completion of eight courses in the series, including several required courses and some elective, equals the requirements for a full freshman year at ASU – at about half the cost of the national average for a year of in-state tuition at public universities.
The Western Civilization: Ancient and Medieval Europe course will be starting on October 14th and run eight weeks. To be taught by Ian Frederick Moulton, the course is described as “a general outline of European history from Ancient times through 1500 AD, covering a variety of European historical periods and cultures, including Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Celtic, Frankish and others.”
Other Arizona State University courses that have been announced include Introduction to Solar Systems Astronomy, and Human Origins. Anant Agarwal, edX CEO, explains “This partnership delivers on the founding mission of edX: the promise to transform education while increasing access to high-quality learning. As with other innovative technologies in the digital space, so too will the Global Freshman Academy change the educational opportunities that will help people transform their lives.”