Would you take a biology class without a lab?

Wavebreak Media

Good news for ambitious high school students eager to rack up college credits: You can now take AP Biology right from home — for free.

Rice University rolled out the new online course last month in a partnership with edX, an Internet platform created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University that offers massive open online courses (known as MOOCs) to students around the world.

While all of the other classes on edX are designed to be taught at the college-level or higher, the AP biology course is the first to be designed specifically for high school students.

But some wonder if students will be interested in learning the material on their own. Because AP Biology traditionally has lots of lab-based work, some educators wonder how appealing the course will be.


One big advantage is the fact that the class will be tuition-free, while registering for a traditional Advanced Placement class can cost $75 or more. The College Board (which administers the exam) notes that over 200,000 students took the biology exam last year.

“Our program you can take for free,” said Reid Whitaker, the executive director of the Center for Digital Learning and Scholarship at Rice University told the Washington Post. “This is a comprehensive program. Free resources. That’s a game changer.”

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