Vanderbilt announced Wednesday that beginning in 2013 some of its faculty members will begin offering free online courses through the digital learning consortium Coursera.
The classes will not be eligible for credit at Vanderbilt, but Vanderbilt professors may use Coursera course materials in their classes. The focus, instead, is on using these online courses as a means for Vanderbilt to further transmit knowledge beyond the campus.
“Our students work hand-in-hand with our faculty in discovering and in promoting new knowledge. So we create new knowledge; we should be disseminating this knowledge,” said Chancellor Nick Zeppos in a video that accompanied the announcement.
Sixteen other universities along with Vanderbilt joined the Coursera network this week, bringing the total number of universities participating in the program up to 33. This includes such top American and international universities as Brown, Columbia and the University of London.
The first round of Vanderbilt Coursera course offerings will begin in January 2013 and will include five courses covering a variety of topics. All Coursera courses are free and open to anyone with an internet connection.
From a Vanderbilt press release:
Partnering with Coursera will allow Vanderbilt to move forward with our digital learning strategy while leveraging the university’s existing strengths—our unique on-campus experience; our culture that blends extraordinary teaching with world-class research; and our breadth of disciplines and collaboration—to broaden our path and chart powerful new ways to engage Vanderbilt students and learners worldwide,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said.
Coursera, Inc., is an online platform for open-access, non-credit classes, available at no cost to participants. Such courses are commonly known as MOOCs, or massively open online courses. An independent company dedicated to working with high-quality university partners, Coursera was developed at Stanford University in fall of 2011 by computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. Coursera first began offering courses from partner universities in April 2012 and has since enrolled more than 1.3 million students worldwide.
“We set out to make education accessible to everyone around the world, and seeing our vision come to life has been an incredible experience,” said Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera. “With the addition of the exceptional, forward thinking institutions coming on board today, we’re proud to offer an even more diverse experience to our students.”
Koller will deliver the John R. and Donna S. Hall Lecture, “The Online Revolution: Education for Everyone,” at Vanderbilt Oct. 2.
The first round of Vanderbilt courses will include:
- Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative, taught by Jay Clayton, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English and director of The Curb Center at Vanderbilt;
- Research Data Management: Best Practice and Applied Methods (tentative title), taught by Paul Harris, associate professor of biomedical informatics and director of the Office of Research Information;
- Innovation Strategy: Managing Innovation and Creativity in Individuals, Groups, and Organizations, taught by David Owens, professor of the practice of management and innovation and director of Executive Development Institute, Owen Graduate School of Management;
- Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle: Issues and Insights, taught by Jamie Pope, instructor of nutrition, School of Nursing; and
- Pattern-Oriented Software Architectures for Concurrent and Networked Software, taught by Douglas C. Schmidt, professor of computer science and associate chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Program.
“At Vanderbilt, we have the luxury of teaching extraordinary students in small classes and of working in close collaboration with undergraduates, graduate students and other faculty. We will never give up that advantage — it’s what makes Vanderbilt distinctive — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for innovative ways to use new media to enrich on-campus community,” Clayton said. “Coursera gives us something more: the opportunity to reach out to a global audience and stimulate fresh thinking, share cutting-edge ideas and provide new knowledge to people who will never have the chance to come study at Vanderbilt in person.”
One of the goals of faculty participating in Coursera is to bring what they learn from teaching using a digital platform to students worldwide back into their classrooms at Vanderbilt.
“I think the quality and diversity of my class material will benefit from my participation with Coursera, as I alter it in response to questions from Coursera students, who have a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives,” Schmidt said. “The ability to draw upon a digital archive of my lectures will also help me tailor class materials to the particular interests and needs of my Vanderbilt students.”
Vanderbilt’s Coursera pilot program represents part of the university’s ongoing effort to ensure the experience it offers its students, alumni, faculty, staff, prospective students and community takes advantage of significant new learning opportunities.
It grows out of existing conversations and prior experience with digital learning at the university. The Vanderbilt School of Nursing has been using digital learning effectively for over a decade, and individual faculty members across the institution have undertaken numerous pilot projects in this arena. In February 2012, Zeppos convened the Chancellor’s Committee on Social Media and the Internet to explore and recommend new initiatives leveraging technology, including MOOCs, to support and enhance the university’s mission of teaching, research and patient care.
For more information about digital learning initiatives at Vanderbilt, visit the Digital Learning website. For more information about Coursera, including a full list of participating institutions and courses, visit coursera.org.
Coursera announced in a press release:
Berklee College of Music, Brown, Columbia, Emory, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Ohio State, UC Irvine, University of British Columbia, University of Florida, University of London, University of Maryland, University of Melbourne, University of Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, and Wesleyan Join Coursera's Platform to Offer Courses Online/722
Berklee College of Music, Brown, Columbia, Emory, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Ohio State, UC Irvine, University of British Columbia, University of Florida, University of London, University of Maryland, University of Melbourne, University of Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, and Wesleyan Join Coursera's Platform to Offer Courses Online
Coursera today announced that Berklee College of Music, Brown University, Columbia University, Emory University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, The Ohio State University, University of British Columbia, University of California, Irvine, University of Florida, University of London, University of Maryland, University of Melbourne, University of Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt University, and Wesleyan University have signed agreements with Coursera to bring courses online for free to expand education opportunities on university campuses and worldwide. With today's announcement, Coursera now hosts roughly 200 courses from 33 domestic and international universities and reaches over 1.3 million students across the globe.
Since its first course offerings six months ago, Coursera has accelerated toward its mission to educate millions worldwide, building meaningful community engagement systems, and establishing advanced technologies to support learning online. The 17 universities joining Coursera's platform today will expand the course roster, adding new and increasingly broad perspectives in the areas of music, medicine, humanities and more.
"Previously I was unable to attend traditional college classes," said Coursera student Laura Cushing. "Now the door to higher education is wide open and I can learn online in a global classroom of peers, in classes taught by professors at top universities. Thanks to Coursera, I am reaching an educational future I never thought possible. There are as many stories as there are students, but we all have one thing in common -- a love of learning that Coursera helps us realize."
Students have access to valuable experiences beyond lectures and on-campus activities through Coursera's extensive community engagement opportunities, which include in-person Meetups in over 600 cities around the world, thousands of community forums on Coursera, and professor and student-organized networking. Coursera is also offering university professors opportunities to share their knowledge with larger audiences, explore new teaching methods in the classroom, and gain valuable feedback on student activity and educational outcomes.
"At Vanderbilt, we have the luxury of teaching extraordinary students in small classes and of working in close collaboration with undergraduates, graduate students, and other faculty," said Jay Clayton, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English, and Director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. "We will never give up that advantage -- it's what makes Vanderbilt distinctive -- but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look for innovative ways to use new media to enrich on-campus community. Coursera gives us something more: the opportunity to reach out to a global audience and stimulate fresh thinking, share cutting-edge ideas, and provide new knowledge to people who will never have the chance to come study at Vanderbilt in person."
"We set out to make education accessible to everyone around the world, and seeing our vision come to life has been an incredible experience," said Daphne Koller, Coursera co-founder. "With the addition of the exceptional, forward-thinking institutions coming on board today, we're proud to offer an even more diverse experience to our students."
"Over the coming months, we will continue to focus on bringing the best educational content and support systems to people around the world so that they can continue to enrich their lives through learning," said Andrew Ng, Coursera co-founder.
New courses will join current university offerings on Coursera over the coming months. For a full list of course offerings across disciplines and universities or to enroll in an upcoming course, visit Coursera.org.