University of Maryland to Offer Four Free Courses Through Coursera
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland plans to offer four popular courses free this spring via Coursera - the international platform that hosts "MOOCs," massive open online courses.
UMD is joining the six-month old consortium, which until now has had 16 other American Association of Universities members and world class international institutions. Negotiations with Coursera began last July.
The first offerings include an eclectic mix intended to appeal to a diverse international audience:
* Developing Innovative Ideas for Real Companies (James V. Green, Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute)
* Women and the Civil Rights Movement (Elsa Barkley Brown, College of Arts and Humanities)
* Exploring Quantum Physics (Charles Clark and Victor Galitski, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences)
* Software Defined Networking (Nick Feamster, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences)
See Course Descriptions here: ter.ps/1c4
See Course Previews: www.coursera.org/umd
The courses are free, and students who successfully complete the work may request an unofficial certificate from Coursera. They do not earn UMD credit. Maryland pays only to produce the course materials.
"Coursera is novel, exciting and something of an unknown," says University of Maryland Senior Vice President and Provost Ann Wylie. "This is a wonderful opportunity to experiment with it and find out how well it works and how we can adapt this technology to our core mission."
Wylie discovered a strong interest by faculty members in taking part: she had to turn away volunteers, when roughly two dozen expressed interest in the four slots. She and her staff selected the ones they thought would have the broadest appeal and would expand Coursera's catalogue.
"I think these faculty members relish the challenge," Wylie says. "It gives them a chance to reinvigorate their teaching. After a while, most of us welcome an opportunity like this to rethink how we've been doing things."
The vision behind Coursera is to expand access to higher education, the social entrepreneurship consortium says. It points out that far more than a million people world-wide have sampled its materials in its first six months.