Harvard and the MIT have announced a new nonprofit partnership, known as edX, to offer free online courses from both universities, as a way to build a global community of online learners and research teaching methods and technologies.
The edX project will include engineering and humanities courses.
Harvard's involvement follows Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announcement in December that it was starting an open online learning project, MITx.
Its first course, Circuits and Electronics, began in March, enrolling about 120,000 students, some 10,000 of whom made it through the recent midterm exam. Those who complete the course will get a certificate of mastery and a grade, but no official credit.
Similarly, edX courses will offer a certificate but not credit.
Experts say that if a leading university offers a free circuit course, other universities need to develop quicky a circuits course.