Provost Wendell Pritchett and Vice Provost for Education Beth Winkelstein are pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Decherney as Faculty Director of the Online Learning Initiative. It was effective July 1.
“Peter has been an energetic and visionary chair of OLI’s faculty advisory group for the past five years,” said Provost Pritchett. “He is not only an expert in new technologies but also a highly successful online teacher. He will be an ideal partner to help us sustain Penn’s place as a leader in innovative teaching and learning around the world.”
Dr. Decherney has taught at Penn since 2004 and is currently professor of cinema studies and English in the School of Arts and Sciences. He is an author or editor of five books, including Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet (Columbia University Press, 2012), which established him as a leading expert on media law and policy. In this regard, he has testified before the United States Copyright Office and filed amicus briefs in several cases, including the Supreme Court case of Golan v. Holder. He has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a State Department Arts Envoy to Myanmar, among numerous other honors.
The Online Learning Initiative began in 2012, when Penn became one of the founding university partners in Coursera, the pioneering online learning platform. Penn now offers more than 90 courses and eight specializations on Coursera—with 25 million learners around the world in disciplines that encompass all 12 Penn Schools—while expanding to include the non-profit edX platform and a wide range of other new and advanced educational programs. The work of Penn faculty in online learning has also spurred numerous educational innovations on campus, especially through the Structured Active In-Class Learning Initiative.