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In October 2012, University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced the decision of the UT System to participate in EdX, an online non-profit learning initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The University of Texas was the first public school system to join the partnership, which previously consisted of Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley. 

The goal of EdX is to transform the foundations of both teaching and learning by enabling the global exchange of information and ideas. UT faculty members will work with other members of the consortium to improve teaching and learning on campus by conducting extensive research on how students learn. This research will provide the knowledge necessary to build new technologies that will help transform teaching and learning worldwide. President Powers expressed excitement in the UT System’s decision to join EdX, explaining UT’s longstanding commitment “not only to embracing breakthroughs in education, but also helping create them.” The partnership with EdX will allow the University of Texas to become a leader in online education and will also help the University meet the needs of a wider range of students. 

UTCS will contribute to UTx with a course titled "Linear Algebra: Theory and Algorithms", to be developed by Prof. Robert van de Geijn and Dr. Maggie Myers. This course will present introductory linear algebra from a computer science perspective. By linking the theory of linear algebra to issues that arise when implementing high-performance libraries, the course content will connect the mathematics to issues encountered in computer architecture, software engineering, and program correctness. The course will build on ongoing research by the instructors on how to develop and implement high-performance linear algebra libraries, funded by the National Science Foundation, so that the participant will simultaneously be exposed to introductory material and the cutting edge of the field.

Students from around the globe will be able to sign up for this course, along with eight other massive open online courses (MOOCs), in the 2013-2014 school year. These courses, which will award students with certificates of mastery rather than course credit, will cover a variety of topics, with titles ranging from “Jazz Appreciation” to “Foundations of Data Analysis,” and will be designed and led by award-winning faculty here at the University.


Article by Katherine Gordon


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