The advent of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) is certain to change the higher education landscape in the years to come. Providers such as FutureLearn, Coursera, Udacityand edX continue to expand their offerings and MOOCs are capturing the attention of more University Presidents just as information-hungry learners around the world unlock the power of accessible, free, online education.
Being at the forefront of higher education innovation, WUN member universities are plugged in to this education revolution. Alberta, CUHK, Penn State, Rochester and Wisconsin-Madison are all signed on to offer courses through Coursera; while Auckland, Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield and Southampton are all partners in FutureLearn. UWA has teamed up with Stanford in a unique MOOCs offering called Class2Go. Clearly MOOCs are here to stay and although they do not attract universal praise (amongst criticisms that they water down the university experience), MOOCs will continue to re-shape the higher education landscape.
Starting on 21 October, the University of Leeds will offer one of its first MOOCs in partnership with FutureLearn. Fairness and Nature: When Worlds Collide will be delivered by Professor Jon Lovett, Leeds’ Leadership Chair of Global Challenges.
“We are targeting the MOOC at audiences that don’t have access to the high quality education we provide here at Leeds – such as Nepal, which features prominently as a key case study” said Professor Lovett. “This MOOC gives information about institutional economics and how it can be applied in real situations. If the participants take the message on board, then environmental change will result.”
In March 2014, the WUN-funded project Globalizing Higher Education and Research for the ‘Knowledge Economy’ will present its first MOOC in a joint initiative between the University of Bristol and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the course, Professor Kris Olds (Wisconsin-Madison) and Professor Susan Robertson (Bristol) will share their expertise on the globalisation process of universities with an open audience.
As MOOCs develop and become a more frequent feature of higher education vocabulary, WUN, through its Global Higher Education and Research Global Challenge, is actively analysing trends and assessing the implications for the sector.
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