Volume 8 Number 10
October 8 - November 11 2012
The University of Melbourne has become the first Australian university to join the prestigious online course provider Coursera, which offers free subjects to anyone, anywhere with a computer and Internet access.
The University will begin putting single subjects online early next year and expects to have about 10 subjects available through Coursera by the end of 2013.
It is one part of a suite of initiatives in the area of e-learning and online teaching and learning that the University is pursuing.
Other initiatives include using technology to enhance interaction and collaboration in existing campus-based courses and setting up an e-learning incubator to encourage more agile and rapid development of learning technologies.
University of Melbourne Provost Professor Margaret Sheil says the University was delighted to join Coursera and leading universities, including Stanford and Princeton, in offering courses to a broad and diverse new audience who otherwise may not have the chance to engage with the University.
“We are pleased to be the first Australian university to partner with Coursera to offer free online subjects to anyone, anywhere with Internet access.
“The past year has seen an explosion in interest in online opportunities that will challenge traditional ways of delivering education, Melbourne is looking forward to being at the forefront of those developments.
“Our initial set of subject offerings through Coursera will be diverse, ranging from macroeconomics and animal behaviour to discrete optimisation and epigenetics.
“As well as opening up to online offerings, the University is looking at ways to increase our use of technology in existing campus-based courses to improve interactivity and enhance the learning experience for our students on campus. We’ll also look at setting up an e-learning incubator to encourage more agile and rapid development of learning technologies.”
The University of Melbourne is one of 17 universities joining Coursera this week, bringing the total number of universities partnering with the online course provider to 33.
Coursera offers more than 120 subjects from some of the world’s top universities online to more than a million learners around the world.
The e-learning platform makes extensive use of short video lectures, interactive content and a global community of peers, offering students a unique learning experience.
Joining Coursera with Melbourne were Brown University, Columbia, Vanderbilt and the University of London. With founders Stanford and Princeton, Coursera’s University partners now include: Berklee College of Music, California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Emory University, EPF Lausanne, Georgia Institute of Technology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Mount Sinai Medical School, Ohio State University, Rice University, University of California Irvine, University of California San Francisco, University of Edinburgh, University of Florida, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas at Austin, University of Toronto, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Wesleyan University.