Coursera today announced it has partnered with 10 US state university systems and public university flagships to bring their faculty and course content online, plus a little more. The massive open online course (MOOC) provider regularly expands the list of its schools, but this time, it’s a two-way street: the schools are going to be adding MOOC to their own courses, too, collaborating on existing content.
The startup says the goal with this latest round is to “explore the possibilities” of using MOOC technology and content to “improve completion, quality, and access to higher education,” both across the combined audiences of these schools (approximately 1.25 million enrolled students) as well as among Coursera’s global classroom of learners (over 3.6 million as of May 2013). The schools are already pushing pilot programs, which will be evaluated based on their effectiveness in enhancing student success.
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The institutions who intend to join Coursera’s network include:
- State University of New York (SUNY)
- Tennessee Board of Regents
- University of Tennessee Systems
- University of Colorado System
- University of Houston System
- University of Kentucky
- University of Nebraska
- University of New Mexico
- University System of Georgia
- West Virginia University
Unlike past partners, these institutions aren’t just joining to bring their own content online for the general population; they are looking reap the benefits of MOOC-based content in their own classrooms and on their own campuses. Coursera gives the example of one professor creating a MOOC, allowing his or her students to watch lectures at home and do more interactive and group-based activities during the lecture time, and then another one adding in his or her own readings, homework, and supplemental material, and offering the joint package to his or her students.
Coursera argues that this will encourage new methods and enhance previous approaches to teaching both on-campus and online, allowing faculty to try improving upon existing “blended learning,” which combines online video lectures and content with active, in-person classroom interactions. Professors and universities won’t only be able to create, modify, or add to curriculums, and examine best practices from the community, they will also be able to tap into Coursera’s data analytics, which can identify learning obstacles and recognize gaps in subject matter.
“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,” Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller said in a statement. “With this announcement, we take a step further in our goal to expand quality education to all,” Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng added.
The bigger picture here is that this should bring MOOCs and mainstream institutions even closer together, as well as expand the community of excellent educators providing MOOCs to the world. It also opens up new channels for sharing knowledge and resources between professors, across campuses, and among entire state university systems.
Top Image Credit: Fred Kuipers