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Education nonprofit edX, Google link

EdX’s Anant Agarwal said his firm and Google have a similar education vision.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

EdX’s Anant Agarwal said his firm and Google have a similar education vision.

Cambridge educational nonprofit edX will work with search giant Google Inc. to build a new online destination for free classes known as massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

The partnership disclosed Tuesday adds some Google engineering muscle to edX and the cache of working with one of the biggest names on the Web that has already built a MOOC platform. Last year, Google launched Course Builder and now hosts classes on such tech topics as building start-ups and data privacy.

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EdX president Anant Agarwal said the two outfits have a similar vision for improving access to education. “Google shares our mission to improve learning both on-campus and online,” he said. “Working with Google’s world-class engineers and technology will enable us to advance online, on-campus, and blended learning experiences faster and more effectively than ever before.”

Harvard and MIT teamed up last year and invested $60 million to launch edX.org as an online destination for anyone to get access to university quality courses. Since then, Stanford University, the University of California, and the University of Texas have joined in. So far, the website has more than 60 courses and more than 1 million people globally have accessed the site to participate.

EdX will work with Google to develop Mooc.org as a place for businesses, colleges, nonprofits, and individuals to post even more classes. It will also be hosted by Google.

“Our industry is in the early stages of MOOCs, and lots of experimentation is still needed to find the best way to meet the educational needs of the world,” said Dan Clancy, director of research at Google, in a blog post Tuesday.

Michael B. Farrell can be reached at michael.farrell@globe.com.
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