IMF and edX join forces to pilot online economics and financial courses

(Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, Ma, 19 June 2013)    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and edX, the not-for-profit online learning initiative composed of the leading global institutions of the xConsortium, announced a collaboration today to strengthen economic expertise worldwide. The collaboration will extend the reach of the IMF’s training courses in macroeconomics and finance to governments and the public through the edX platform. EdX’s open learning platform is used by universities worldwide to develop innovative online, on-campus, and blended teaching and learning models, and was chosen for this first-of-its-kind initiative because of its cutting-edge online learning environment, educational expertise, and global reach. The collaboration marks the first time edX has been used as the educational platform of an international governmental organization.

Pilots of the first two online courses—Financial Programming and Policies and Debt Sustainability Analysis—will be rolled out to small groups of government officials in the coming months, with plans to open access to the general public during 2014. Through edX, the IMF will be able to provide interactive education free of charge wherever there is internet access.

“We are delighted to join with edX in this new initiative, which will allow us to respond to the demands for more training from our member countries,” said Sharmini Coorey, director of the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development. “The training we provide is aimed at increasing the capacity of officials to analyze and formulate sound macroeconomic and financial policies. We look forward to being able to offer online access to a broader audience through future massive open online courses. We hope that these short courses will be useful to students and teachers, the financial services industry, members of parliament and civil society, and many others, thus promoting greater understanding of economic policy issues.”

The IMF currently offers policy-oriented courses to central bank, finance ministry and other officials from its 188 member countries. By moving courses to edX’s online platform, the IMF will be able to reach many more government officials and open its training to the general public.

“This collaboration with the IMF demonstrates another innovative use of the edX platform,” said edX President Anant Agarwal. “We have seen universities use our platform to deliver educational content in ever-evolving ways – from blended learning to flipped classrooms to richer on-campus learning experiences. It is a natural progression for us to work with a variety of other institutions seeking a flexible, feature-rich and massively-scalable platform to deliver their own educational programs.”

The IMF offers training to officials from member countries on a range of macroeconomic and financial topics as well as specialized training in statistical and legal areas related to its mandate. In 2012, the IMF provided training to about 7,800 officials through its global network of eight training centers and programs. Its courses typically combine policy-oriented economic analysis with workshops incorporating real world applications reflecting the experiences of its global membership.

Read the entire announcement here.