The University of Manchester is about to deliver a number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), an exciting new development in online education that allow Higher Education institutions to reach out to audiences that might not otherwise have access to their teaching material.
MOOCs are taught entirely online, and are freely available at no cost to anyone in the world with an internet connection.
A typical MOOC lasts between six and eight weeks and is taught mostly through videos, supplemented by discussion forums, self-test quizzes and reading or web research activities. Anyone who achieves a pass grade in the activities and usually a final assignment is awarded with a certificate of completion.
This month, The University of Manchester launches our first MOOC. We are one the first UK universities to have entered into partnership with Coursera, one of the world’s leading MOOC platform providers, who will be hosting our courses.
This first MOOC, “An Introduction to Population Health”, will be led by Dr Catherine Reed, Director of the successful Masters in Public Health distance learning programme, jointly taught by Professor Aneez Esmail and supported by several academic colleagues who will participate in online discussions.
We will be following up the launch of our first MOOC with several others over the coming months:
· Water Supply and Sanitation Policy in Developing Countries – May 26
· Introduction to Physical Chemistry – June 2
· Global Health and Humanitarianism – June 16
· Our Earth: Its Climate, History and Processes - TBC
The courses highlight research strengths within the University and the teaching excellence in each of these areas.
Professor Richard Reece, Associate Vice-President for Teaching, Learning and Students, said: “The development of these courses is an important step for Manchester. They will appeal to a broad audience from across the globe, and will form an important part of fulfilling our commitment to social responsibility.
“Signing up to any of these courses will be free to participants, and we expect that many thousands of people will take part. MOOCs are seen by some as the future of online education. While being based anywhere, the ability to be taught by and learn from the world’s best researchers and teachers should not be underestimated.
“Manchester is determined to produce some of the best and highest quality online courses to showcase our excellence in distance education and to benefit both students across the world and those here in Manchester.”