It was recently announced that the University of California at Berkeley has formed a partnership with edX, a project started by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University to provide free online courses without the need of expensive textbooks. Since the unveiling of the program, more than 120 other colleges and universities around the world have also expressed interest in joining it.

And while MIT and Harvard have both committed $30-million each to the project, Berkeley is donating technology instead of money. Engineers at Berkeley have been working on new online-education platform and it will now be available to the edX project. The university has also agreed to take a leadership role in the “X University Consortium,” a new governing body for the project, and teach two free courses through edX starting in the fall: one course on artificial intelligence and another on “software as a service.”

Textbooks are becoming more expensive and open source learning programs such as edX can help make higher education more affordable for struggling students.

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