Yesterday, 58 faculty members from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard wrote an open letter to the dean requesting faculty oversight of HarvardX. When schools sign up for edX, their implementations tend to be called SchoolX, thus HarvardX specifically refers to their usage of the MOOC platform, not to the overall edX organization. This distinction is important, given Harvard’s founding role in creating the edX organization and $30m pledge of support.
The letter is short, so I’ll quote it in full (the signatures are much longer than the letter itself).
As the university marks the first anniversary of edX and HarvardX, some faculty are tremendously excited about the potential of HarvardX; others are deeply concerned about the program’s costs and consequences. We appreciate the meetings, town halls, and other arenas in which faculty have been able to discuss HarvardX. But we believe that many critical questions about the relationship of the FAS to HarvardX, and to edX, have not yet been addressed. These questions (which fall outside the remit of the two existing HarvardX faculty committees, most of whose members are not from FAS) range from faculty oversight of HarvardX to the impact online courses will have on the higher education system as a whole.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is directly responsible for the teaching of Harvard undergraduates and Ph.D. students. It is our responsibility to ensure that HarvardX is consistent with our commitment to our students on campus, and with our academic mission. Given the rapid pace of development of HarvardX, we believe it is essential to have a formal, sustained, and structured faculty discussion on these issues as soon as possible. We write to request that you appoint a committee of FAS ladder faculty to draft a set of ethical and educational principles that will govern FAS involvement in HarvardX, to be brought before the FAS for a vote in the coming academic year.
Note that they request FAS ladder faculty, which means tenure and tenure track faculty and specifically not adjuncts and lecturers. It is possible, however, that the requested committee of ladder faculty could choose to involve adjuncts in the process.