Rice, Coursera partner to offer free online courses

July 18, 2012

Rice University will offer five online courses free to people around the world as a new partner with the California-based enterprise Coursera.

Coursera launched in April as the first education platform to host content from multiple world-renowned universities at one website. Rice and 11 other prestigious universities were announced today as new partners with Coursera, which began with courses from just four schools.

The web-based courses include video lectures with frequent quizzes that reinforce concept retention and interactive assignments that test students’ understanding and build mastery of the subject matter.

“Rice is proud to be part of this new wave of technology-based learning in the company of some of the most prestigious universities in the United States and the world,” said Provost George McLendon. “Coursera will bring widespread exposure to the excellence of Rice’s educational and research programs.”

Rice students can also benefit from the courses, which will be available as supplemental or instructional resources and can help stimulate discussions during classtime, he said.

“This is the year in which leading research universities have decided to participate significantly in the development and implementation of new technologies for higher education,” Rice President David Leebron said. “While we will continue to provide a high-quality, holistic on-campus education, making use of these technologies will enable us both to expand the pool of people who can benefit from lectures by our extraordinary faculty and, where appropriate, to enhance on-campus teaching.”

Rice’s pilot offerings for Coursera include courses in general chemistry, software programming, electrical engineering, analytical chemistry and nanotechnology. These five courses will become available at different times during the coming academic year, and Rice may make additional courses available in the future. For more details about the courses and how to enroll, visit coursera.org.

In addition to Rice, other schools that Coursera announced today as new course providers were California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California at San Francisco, University of Edinburgh in Scotland, University of Illinois, University of Toronto in Canada, University of Virginia and University of Washington. They join Coursera’s original course providers: Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. Coursera was founded in the fall of 2011 by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. Its mission is to change the world by educating millions of people via free online classes from top universities and professors. Coursera has seen more than 650,000 students from 190 countries and more than 1.5 million course enrollments across its 43 courses on topics in the arts, computer sciences, mathematics, history, literature and other disciplines. All courses are free for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection.“We believe that putting courses online for free via Coursera offers tremendous value for students, professors and universities alike,” Ng said. “Students have greater access than ever before to the world’s foremost subject matter and experts. Professors can reach more students in one course than they could have hoped to in a lifetime. Universities can teach millions worldwide, and make time on-campus for interactive in-class learning. This is truly the future of higher education.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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