Coursera: 10 Public Universities to Begin Using MOOCs
Today, Coursera announced that 10 public university systems would be partnering with the Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) provider to help provide online education for millions of college students across the country.
While the degree of implementation varies from institution to institution, with some are offering course credit for completion while others will only be using Coursera’s MOOCs to supplement existing classes under the “blended learning” model, in which MOOC content is paired with in-class discussions. One college system, the University of Tennessee, TN, will be creating both an in-person and MOOC version of the same course in order to see which is most effective.
The full list of schools joining Coursera is as follows:
- The State University of New York (SUNY)
- Tennessee Board of Regents
- University of Tennessee System
- 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
“This new partnership with Coursera will be invaluable as we launch Open SUNY, which will give our students increased access to the online courses SUNY faculty offer in New York and worldwide,” said Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher of the State University of New York, NY, the nation’s largest system of public universities. “Working with Coursera presents a fantastic opportunity for higher education systems across the country to increase educational access, instructional quality and exposure, and degree completion. We are proud to be a part of this effort and look forward to getting started.”
According to Coursera’s founders, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, the announcement marks one of the biggest steps forward in the acceptance of MOOCs as a legitimate means of 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. With this announcement, we take a step further in our goal to expand quality education to all,” said Coursera’s Co-CEO’s in a statement published on the site’s blog.
However, the rapid growth of MOOCs over the last year has had some in the educational community concerned, namely from professors themselves, who fear that the proliferation of MOOCs could be at the disadvantage to both educators and students. Faculty at Amherst and Duke recently voted to not allow MOOCs on their campuses, and last week, 58 members of Harvard’s faculty issued a statement calling for a committee to be formed in order to examine the “ethical and educational principles” of MOOCs in regards to the MOOC platform created in partnership with MIT, edX.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that HarvardX [Harvard's contribution to edX] is consistent with our commitment to our students on campus, and with our academic mission,” says the statement. “Given the rapid pace of development of HarvardX , we believe it is essential to have a formal, sustained, and structured faculty discussion on these issues as soon as possible.”
While not disparaging the use of edX outright, and emphasizing that “some faculty are tremendously excited about the potential of HarvardX,” the statement suggests that many faculty are ”deeply concerned about the program’s costs and consequences.”
Others, however, have maintained that the use of MOOCs is vital to ensuring that education is free and accessible to all, a feeling supported by education-centric non-profits like the Gates Foundation, which provided edX with a $1 million grant in November.
“Our technology and innovative teaching methods have the potential to transform the way community college students learn, both in and out of the classroom,” said Prof Agarwal, president of edX.