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Agreement signed to launch Arabic MOOC portal

By JT - Nov 09,2013 - Last updated at Nov 09,2013

AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania on Thursday witnessed the signing of an agreement to launch Edraak, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform.

Edraak is an initiative of the Queen Rania Foundation (QRF) established in partnership with the non-profit online learning initiative edX, according to a statement from Her Majesty’s office.

MOOCs are online classes taught to a large number of students where they watch “short video lectures” online and complete assignments that are graded either by machines or by other students. This format is designed to allow a single professor to teach a class of several thousand students in a personalised fashion.

QRF will capitalise on regional Arab talent and leverage technology developed by the Harvard-MIT consortium, edX, to create an Arab MOOC platform, which will present the Arab world with unique and vital opportunities that can be part of a necessary revolution in education and learning, the statement said.

QRF CEO Haifa Dia Al Attia and edX President Anant Agarwal signed the agreement.

“EdX was founded on the belief that education should be freely available for everyone, like the air we breathe. We share Her Majesty Queen Rania’s vision to bring opportunity to those who need it most, through education, and are honoured to join her in delivering the world’s best and most accessible learning experiences to the Arab world,” the statement quoted Agarwal as saying.

Powered by edX’s open-source platform, Edraak will broadcast the best Arab professors to the region, offering original Arabic courses, developed by QRF, to further enrich Arab education. The platform will also give Arab learners access in Arabic to courses taught at top tier universities like Harvard, MIT and UC Berkeley. All courses are delivered at no cost to the learner.

Edraak will provide Arab students and professionals with a world-class educational experience, with inspirational courses and also those that address contemporary issues and challenges in the region through Arab perspectives.

This platform will also enable the Arab world to take advantage of the international interest in regional affairs to tell its own story to the world. Arab university professors and regional experts can use the platform to give courses in English about the region and its history. This will serve to inform a global audience that is interested in the region’s development, the statement said.

The announcement of the Arabic-language portal follows the launch of two other global MOOC websites — China (XuetangX) and France (France Universite Numerique). Each of these portals uses Open edX, the open-source platform supported by Stanford University and Google among other global partners, including members of the xConsortium.

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