Kyoto University said Tuesday it has become the first Japanese university to join edX, a U.S.-based nonprofit online learning platform.
The move is aimed at improving the quality of education at the university through competition with other institutions in attracting students registered on the platform, which was created mainly by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012.
Around 40 free courses are offered in English by 12 universities, including natural and computer science classes, and about 900,000 people around the world have enrolled, with access open to all.
EdX enables students to engage in discussions, ask lecturers questions and receive course completion certificates.
Kyoto University plans to start accepting students this summer for a course titled the Science of Life taught by professor Motonari Uesugi, which will be launched on edX next spring.
“In the future, we would like to deliver classes that represent our university, such as ‘kanji’ culture or Japanese classic literature,” Kyoto University President Hiroshi Matsumoto said at a news conference.