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EdX at PTS

Special Studies through the Harvard / MIT edX Consortium

EdX was created for students and institutions that seek to transform themselves through cutting-edge technologies, innovative pedagogy, and rigorous courses. At edX, we believe in the highest quality education, both online and in the classroom. Through our institutional partners, the XConsortium, we present the best of higher education online, offering opportunity to anyone who wants to achieve, thrive, and grow.

Our goals, however, go beyond offering courses and content. We are committed to research that will allow us to understand how students learn, how technology can transform learning, and the ways teachers teach on campus and beyond.

As innovators and experimenters, we want to share what we discover. The edX platform will be available as open source. By conducting and publishing significant research on how students learn, we will empower and inspire educators around the world and promote success in learning.

EdX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is governed by MIT and Harvard. Logon to the edX website for details regarding course offering and class registration.

(Click for edX Website)

Providence Theological School will accept certain courses offered through edX. In order to receive credit from PTS you must obtain a Certificate of Mastery in that course. There is no tuition or fee charge for edX courses, either to the XConsortium or to PTS. Prior to taking any edX course it is necessary to receive permission from the school. Such inquiries should be made to --
The Very Rev. Paul E. Mottl, Dean

You may apply up to two edX courses toward a PTS degree program.

Courses currently accepted by PTS include:

· Starts: November 2013
· Instructor: Laura Nasrallah
· HarvardX
About this course:
The letters of Paul are the earliest texts in the Christian scriptures, written by a Jew at a time when the word “Christian” hadn’t yet been coined. What is the religious and political context into which they emerged? How were they first interpreted? How and why do they make such an enormous impact in Christian communities and in politics today? Archaeological materials and ancient writings will help you to enter the ancient Mediterranean world and to think about religious groups, power, poverty, health, and the lives of elites and slaves in the Roman Empire. We’ll explore how immediately controversial these letters were, and how these letters are used today to debate relations between Christians and Jews; issues such as love, law, and grace; and topics such as charismatic Christianity, homosexuality, and women’s religious leadership. Whether you’ve been studying Paul’s letters for years or are merely curious about what Christian scriptures are, this course will provide you with information to deepen your understanding of the ancient contexts and present-day controversies about these letters.

· Starts: 1 Oct 2013
· Instructor: Caspar Hare
· MITx
About this course:
This course has two goals. The first is to introduce you to the things that philosophers think about. We will look at some perennial philosophical problems: Is there a God? What is knowledge, and how do we get it? What is the place of our consciousness in the physical world? Do we have free will? How do we persist over time, as our bodily and psychological traits change? The second goal is to get you thinking philosophically yourself. This will help you develop your critical reasoning and argumentative skills more generally. Along the way we will draw from late, great classical authors and influential contemporary figures.

· Starts: 12 Mar 2013
· Instructor: Michael J. Sandel
· HarvardX
About this course:
Justice is a critical analysis of classical and contemporary theories of justice, including discussion of present-day applications. Topics include affirmative action, income distribution, same-sex marriage, the role of markets, debates about rights (human rights and property rights), arguments for and against equality, dilemmas of loyalty in public and private life. The course invites students to subject their own views on these controversies to critical examination.

 The principal readings for the course are texts by Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and John Rawls. Other assigned readings include writings by contemporary philosophers, court cases, and articles about political controversies that raise philosophical questions.

1. Each lecture invites you to respond to a poll question related to the themes of the lecture. If you respond to the question, you will be presented with a challenge to the opinion you have expressed, and invited to reply to the challenge. You can also, if you wish, comment on the opinions and responses posted by other students in the course, continuing the discussion.

2. In addition to the poll question, each class contains a discussion prompt that invites you to offer your view on a controversial question related to the lecture. If you wish, you can respond to this question, and then see what other students have to say about the argument you present. You can also comment on the opinions posted by other students. One aim of the course is to promote reasoned public dialogue about hard moral and political questions.

3. Each week, there will be an optional live dialogue enabling students to interact with instructors and participants from around the world.

· Starts: 15 Oct 2013
· Instructors: T. Beauchamp J. Keown, R. Kukla
· GeorgetownX
About this course
Should we clone humans? Who owns our DNA? How much control should we have over how and when we die? When does medical treatment turn into medical enhancement — and should we care? Is rationing health care good, bad, necessary — or all of the above?

This course will explore fundamental moral issues that arise in medicine, health, and biotechnology. Get behind the headlines — and polarized debates — and join others who want to think deeply and openly about these problems. Some are as old as life itself: the vulnerability of illness, the fact of death. Some are new, brought on by a dizzying pace of technology that can unsettle our core ideas about human nature and our place in the world. And nearly all intersect with issues of racial and gender equality, as well as policies affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Designed to introduce students to the range of issues that define bioethics, together with core concepts and skills, this course should be of interest to undergraduates, health care professionals, policy makers, and anyone interested in philosophy or ethics.