May 4, 2012
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — If you think there’s a bubble in higher education, well, it just might burst in Boston. Harvard and MIT have started a $60 million project, called edX, to offer free courses online and to study how students learn on the Web. It’s one of several big efforts around the country aimed at lowering barriers to top-tier education. And it fits with Boston’s growing ed-tech cluster, which includes companies like Alleyoop, Boundless Learning and TenMarks. Time will tell whether the Web causes radical changes in universities; but tuition costs aren’t going down anytime soon.
In other innovation news...
Jennifer Chayes, the managing director of Microsoft Research New England, will also lead the company’s newest lab in New York. Three former Yahoo scientists are founding researchers at the new lab, and will study the intersection of computer science and social science.
Our deal of the week goes to Hologic, a Bedford-based women’s health company that’s acquiring San Diego’s Gen-Probe for $3.7 billion.
And finally, all eyes are on Silicon Valley as the tech world prepares for Facebook’s IPO. But Boston-area investor Bill Warner, talking about the significance of the local innovation community, says our nation’s first social network was launched on the East Coast and now has 300 million users. That network was created by the U.S. Constitution.
The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.