UH System

First massive open online courses launch


Potential UH students can begin to earn college credit by taking free massive open online courses. | Izmail Glosson/The Daily Cougar

Students preparing for college by getting an early start earning credit with advance placement or dual-credit courses will now have a cheaper option for getting ahead.

The UH System became a Coursera partner, launching its first three massive open online courses on the education platform, with unlimited participation and access free of charge. Out of the 10 United States state universities that joined Coursera in May 2013, the UH System now has the most upcoming courses.

“We’re hoping these courses will be effective in our outreach efforts with the community, empowering people who might not otherwise have access to this level of education,” said Jeff Morgan, associate provost of education innovation and technology.

The first two classes, “Preparing for the AP Calculus AB Exam” and “Preparing for the AP Statistics Exam,” will begin March 17 and last for six weeks. The courses will consist of weekly lecture videos, quizzes and optional homework assignments and class discussion forums to help students understand the material and better prepare for the AP exams. Practice exams will be given at the end of each course.

“We hope to help enhance high school dual-enrollment programs, offering these MOOCs to schools that lack instructors qualified to teach college-level content,” Morgan said. “Next year, we will offer full-year courses in AP Calculus and AP Statistics through Coursera.”

According to The College Board’s 10th annual AP Report to the Nation, the number of AP exams administered increased by about 1.8 million from 2003 to 2013. However, almost 300,000 students in the class of 2013 who had potential to succeed in AP exams never participated in matched courses.

According to a UH press release, the combined enrollment in these two courses has already reached more than 3,000 students. Morgan, however, said he is hoping to see more people enroll.

“There isn’t a cap on enrollment in these MOOCs, and we eventually hope to see a combined enrollment of 10,000 students in these initial offerings,” he said.

The third MOOC, “Applying Principles of Behavior in the K-12 Classroom,” was developed by UH-Victoria and will begin April 7. The four-week course is designed to help high school teachers and administrators learn practical skills in the reinforcement and assessment of behavior.

Approved by the Texas Education Agency as a continuing professional education credit course, the class will instruct participants on how to conduct a functional behavior assessment.

“Ultimately, we look forward to using MOOC technology and content to improve completion, quality and access to higher education,” Morgan said. “Long-term goals include the potential to offer courses to non-matriculated students interested in continuing their education but who might not have access to campus resources.”

According to a UH press release, the UH System is also working to include courses associated with programming handheld devices, new technology tools for education and educational uses of digital storytelling.

For more information or to enroll in any of the UH System’s initial MOOC offerings, visit coursera.org.

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