U. of I.: 14,000 Students (on first day) Enroll In Free MOOCs

English: Hands collaborating in co-writing or ...

English: Hands collaborating in co-writing or co-editing or co-teaching in online education. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Lillian Williams

Free online courses offered by the University of Illinois are a big hit worldwide. How big?

The Chicago Tribune reports that 14,000 students signed up for University of Illinois’ free, Web-based courses on the first day of registration.

Repeat: Fourteen-thousand students signed up on launch day. Read the July 19 Tribune article here.

These U. of I. (at Urbana-Champaign) courses are called MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses.

They’re part of a new (or perhaps renewed) wave in higher education that brings free education to tens of thousands of students worldwide within huge single classes offered over the Internet.

MOOC programs typically do not award college credit, though some offer certificates for completion of course work. (In a recent move, the University of Washington reportedly is working on a plan to offer credit for some MOOC courses, for a fee.)

The following are examples of MOOCs (and variations of MOOCs):

What types of courses are being offered?

At University of Illinois, for example, free courses include Introduction to Sustainability; Heterogeneous Parallel Programming; Creative, Serious and Playful Science of Android Apps; Intermediate Organic Chemistry; Planet Earth, and others.

See my earlier post about scientist Peter Norvig‘s TED talk concerning his experiment with MOOCs.

Also, check out the Ted Talk  by Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera. Koller makes the point that MOOCs provide unprecedented, huge data sets that allow researchers another method to study how students learn. See her TED TALK here.

It’s your turn. What are your thoughts about this experiment in higher education?  Leave your comments below.

This entry was posted in digital education, e-learning courses, free e-learning course, MOOC, online courses, online learning, online teaching and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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