CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — About 100,000 people have signed up for Harvard University’s first free online courses.

The free courses, which begin Monday, are computer science and an adaptation of the Harvard School of Public Health’s classes in epidemiology and biostatics. They’re part of a joint venture called edX.

University provost Alan Garber tells The Boston Globe that the free courses are part of an effort to educate people worldwide and will also help Harvard better understand how people learn.

Harvard is partnering in the nonprofit edX venture with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley.

About 155,000 students registered for a free course in circuits and electronics MIT offered through edX in the spring.

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