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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Academics & Research

UH to discuss participation in massive open online courses


Educators around the world have been trying to make a college education easily available and affordable for years, and now it seems most universities have found their solution: massive open online courses.

UH announced on Friday it will join other universities that have taken steps to offer MOOCs. Coursera, one of the companies worldwide that links colleges together to provide free courses to anyone who wants to learn, will begin discussing its future with the UH System and nine others across the nation.

“Coursera is working with the most renowned and well-respected universities, and we’re excited to join with our peers in using the MOOC technology and content to improve the quality and access of our educational offerings,” said Interim Provost Paula Short in a press release.

While Coursera’s goal is to extend free education and classes not for college credit, UH — after the original implementation of the technology — will phase in courses that will count toward degrees and will require tuition.

“We will evaluate full potential of the program over the next year and move forward in a strategic way that enhances our Tier One status and student success initiatives,” Short said.

The partnership will encourage faculty members to incorporate the online resources in their classrooms, which will create a more thorough and diverse education.

“We think the coming decade will see a transformation in the way education is delivered, where teachers and online content come together to better serve students on campus and beyond,” said co-founder of Coursera Daphne Koller in a press release.

At first, UH will spotlight science courses but will try to bring more to the table.

“Courses developed by our National Academy of Science faculty in engineering and natural sciences should be popular MOOCs that we can offer, as well as other online courses that allow the student to self-pace instruction to achieve mastery before moving to the next topic,” Short said.

MOOCs are a relatively new topic in the higher education world, and the Coursera company is even newer. The company began in April 2012 and since then has generated more than 300 courses and 3 million users. UH will be among the more than 70 partners of the company, a list that includes Rice University, Yale University and Princeton University.

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