Cambridge University expands access to online learning on edX platform | Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) skip to content

Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


• The collaboration with edX will enable Cambridge to enhance its online learning programmes to share teaching excellence globally.

• The first course, the MicroMasters in Writing for Performance and the Entertainment Industries from the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, will start a truly global conversation that innovates writing for stage, screen, video games, performance poetry, and installation art.

The University of Cambridge is to launch a range of online courses on the edX learning platform as part of its plans to widen its online learning programmes and to give students across the world greater access to a Cambridge education. 

The move marks a significant development for Cambridge, which is better known for delivering internationally renowned undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. 

The collaboration with edX is for an initial five years and will see the University provide 50 online courses by the end of the period.

Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education Professor Graham Virgo said: “edX has an outstanding reputation and experience in the field. This collaboration is a critical step to further scale the University’s strategy for online education, whilst at the same time complementing the University’s traditional offer.

“We look forward to growing our presence on the edX platform and sharing Cambridge expertise to learners of all ages and backgrounds across the world.”

The first course available on the edX platform is the MicroMasters in Writing for Performance and Entertainment Industries delivered by the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE).  The Institute, which provides accessible, affordable part-time qualifications for adults, has been teaching online courses for over a decade but this is the first MicroMasters it will be offering online via edX.

The course will be taught entirely online and is intensely practical. It offers advice on how to build a career in screenwriting, theatre and even video gaming from working professionals, and aims to help uncover new voices in performance writing internationally, who might not otherwise have been heard.

The University sees the expansion of its online courses as particularly important given the impact of coronavirus, which has highlighted issues of accessibility in education and the need for opportunities to reskill and retrain.

Dr James Gazzard, Director of the Institute of Continuing Education, said, “The University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education is delighted to partner with edX to launch this new MicroMasters course, the first course on edX from Cambridge.

“ICE’s role is to make Cambridge quality courses accessible to adult learners in flexible and affordable ways. edX is an excellent enabling platform.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen the societal importance of high quality film, television and radio. They’ve entertained, educated and lifted our spirits. We hope this new course will engage and inspire future writers, some of whom may aspire to study for a Masters degree at Cambridge.”

The MicroMasters programme offers maximum flexibility, with students able to work through as few or as many of the modules as they choose. Twin tracks of the Performance Writing course are available:  All eight modules can be taken entirely free under the audited version; under the verified option, each module costs $199, and students receive a certificate upon completing the course. Completed modules in the verified option can also be put towards the residential Writing for Performance Master of Studies if students wish to progress their study in Cambridge and fulfil the requirements for this programme.

Anant Agarwal, Founder and CEO of edX, said: "The University of Cambridge has a rich history of innovation, leadership, and groundbreaking research, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the edX partner community.

“The fact that their first offering is a MicroMasters programme, a valuable credential at the forefront of today’s movement towards modular and stackable learning, demonstrates our shared commitment to innovation and expanding the opportunity for restless learners around the world to earn a world-class Cambridge education.”

Applications for the MicroMasters programme in Writing for Performance and the Entertainment Industries open on the 25th August, and the course will start in October.

The performance writing programme will be followed up with further Cambridge courses on the platform, including a range of Professional Certificate programmes, which are designed to build and enhance critical professional skills needed to succeed in today's most in-demand fields.

Learn more about the course here »

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