Penn to offer online classes via Coursera


The internet has changed the way we read the news, connect with friends, and buy new products. Now, web-based courses are pioneering a new model for higher learning, one that could potentially give everyone in the world access to a top-level educational experience.

As part of this new model, Penn is partnering with Princeton University, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan as part of an online education platform called Coursera, designed to make web-based courses available for free and improve teaching on campuses.

Coursera is the first education platform to host content from multiple world-renowned universities at one online destination. These courses include video lectures with quizzes, interactive assignments, and collaborative online forums. Penn faculty will provide courses in medicine, business, music, literature, mathematics, and computer science, among others.

“Penn is delighted to participate in this innovative collaboration that will make high-quality learning opportunities available to millions of people around the world,” says Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Expanding access to higher education both nationally and globally remains one of our most critical responsibilities. This initiative provides an invaluable opportunity for anyone who has the motivation and preparation to partake of a world-class education."

With an innovative design inspired by educational research on effective learning, the Coursera platform creates an interactive learning experience for the participating universities’ course offerings. Recorded video lectures contain frequent quizzes that reinforce concepts, as well as deeper assignments that test students’ understanding and build mastery of the material. The Coursera platform also offers community forums that encourage students to participate actively with classmates from around the world.

Seven courses from Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan have been running for several weeks, and additional courses will launch later this week and through the late summer.

Twelve Penn faculty members are currently slated to offer courses, which will roll out over the next few months:

• Benjamin Abella, “Cardiac Arrest, Hypothermia, and Resuscitation Science”

• Ezekiel Emanuel, “Health Policy and the Affordable Care Act”

• Robert Ghrist, “Calculus: Single Variable”

• Al Filreis, “Modern and Contemporary American Poetry”

• Roy Hamilton, “Basic Behavioral Neurology”

• John Hoganesch, “Introduction to Genome Science”

• Michael Kearns, “Networked Life”

• Emma Meagher, “Fundamentals of Pharmacology”

• Carol Muller,  “Listening to World Music”

• Paul Offit, “Vaccines”

• Peter Struck,  “Greek and Roman Mythology”

• Kevin Werbach, “Gamification”

For additional information and registration, visit the Coursera website.


Originally published on April 19, 2012