edX: The Second Season
New Harvard online courses go beyond quantitative subjects to include "Justice," ancient Greece
edX, the online learning joint partnership between Harvard and MIT (now including Berkeley, Georgetown, the University of Texas, and Wellesley), announced its second virtual "semester" of classes, including two Harvard-based large lecture courses that go beyond the initial focus on quantitative, principally computer-sciences, offerings. These initial humanities courses include:
- "Justice," taught by Bass professor of government Michael J. Sandel; and
- "The Ancient Greek Hero," a version of the popular Core course, "The Concept of the Hero in Greek Civilization," taught by Gregory Nagy, Jones professor of Classical Greek literature and professor of comparative literature, and director of the Center for Hellenic Studies.
Interestingly, both professors have previously presented versions of their courses in a recorded, online format. "Justice" was taped and shared with audiences around the world, and Sandel has recently introduced real-time, virtual interaction in his class with students from other countries. Nagy's teaching was featured in the Harvard Alumni Association-Faculty of Arts and Sciences "Harvard@Home" online series that launched early in 2001 and then was eclipsed by subsequent online experiments.
Thus, the humanities courses on edX begin with professors broadly conversant with projecting their teaching virtually.
edX also announced that the Center for Health and the Global Environment, based at Harvard School of Public Health, will offer "Human Health and Global Environmental Change," taught by Aaron Bernstein, the associate director—a physician at Children's Hospital Boston and instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Read Harvard Magazine's profile of the center's founder, Eric Chivian, and its early work.
A limited-enrollment course, "Copyright," will be taught by William Fisher, WilmerHale professor of intellectual property law and faculty director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.