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Wellesley College finally letting in men — at a safe distance

Wellesley CollegeIt’s taken the Worldwide Web to break down the gender barrier at Wellesley College:  The private liberal arts school that has catered exclusively to women since 1875 next fall will let anyone take classes through the Harvard/MIT online learning collaborative called edX that was established in May.

Wellesley says that its iteration of edX, dubbed WellesleyX, will start with 4 free, not-for-credit courses to be determined.

“I am pleased that Wellesley will bring a much-needed liberal arts perspective to the rapidly developing online learning environment,” Wellesley College President Kim Bottomly said in a statement. (Provost Andrew Shennan further explains Wellesley’s decision in this video.)

While the courses will be available to both men and women, Wellesley College sees the online effort really as an opportunity to expand its primary mission of educating women from around the world. “WellesleyX courses will be open to all regardless of gender. Given that Wellesley’s mission is to provide an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference, we will especially promote these courses as an opportunity for women around the world, activating our powerful network of alumnae to help spread the word.”

Like other edX offerings, WellesleyX will give the schools a chance to better understand the fast-evolving world of online education.

(Wellesley College actually has allowed males to take courses at the school under special circumstances, such as through exchange programs, cross-registration and through its summer school program.)


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