The Georgia Institute of Technology has signed an agreement with Coursera to put their web-based courses online and create new opportunities for hands-on learning in the classroom. The free courses will be available to anyone with a computer and internet access.
"Georgia Tech is committed to using technology and advanced platforms to enrich and expand educational opportunities,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson in a release. “Through Georgia Tech’s Office of Professional Education, we already offer courses to more than 25,000 students worldwide. Steps such as this agreement will enable even more students throughout the world to have access to Georgia Tech’s expertise, and help to meet the needs for lifelong learning.”
Coursera, founded in the fall of 2011, announced in April that Princeton, University of Michigan, Stanford and Penn were entering into agreements with Coursera to bring course content online for free. Tech was one of a dozen more universities to sign agreements this month with Coursera, which has seen over 680,000 students from 190 countries and more than 1.6 million course enrollments across its 43 courses.
"It seems clear that higher education is currently experiencing the first ripples of a wave that could drastically alter the method, scope and scale of educational access and delivery," Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs for Georgia Tech, said in the press release. "Georgia Tech has been in the business of offering online courses and education for some time. By joining Coursera we seek to expand our presence in that space, provide increased global access to our excellent educational products, experiment with new methods and ideas in the delivery of education and, most importantly, enhance the learning options and convenience for our own students."
Georgia Tech’s initial courses include Computational Photography, Computational Investing, Energy 101and Control of Mobile Robots. The Institute plans to add online courses across a range of disciplines to the online platform.
"The technological sophistication and expectations of today's college students drastically outpace their institutions," said Rich DeMillo, director of Georgia Tech's Center for 21st Century Universities, in a statement. "By embracing innovators such as Coursera, who are the vanguard for the oncoming technological revolution, universities can not only improve student access to course content, but also fundamentally change core value structures such as student recruitment and retention, degree customization, and overall productivity and efficiency."
Georgia Tech Dean of Professional Education Nelson Baker also noted, “We are empowering people to learn, and are connecting and expanding our global learning community to meet the evolving needs of students worldwide. By adding courses via Coursera, we are further supporting an individual’s quest for wanting to be more competitive and competent whether that is in their studies at a university, in their place of employment or just to be members of an educated society.”
Other institutions partnering with Coursera are the California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Princeton University, Rice University, Stanford University, UC San Francisco, University of Edinburgh, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Toronto, University of Virginia and the University of Washington.
"We believe that putting courses online for free via Coursera offers tremendous value for students, professors and universities alike," said Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng in a statement. "Students have greater access than ever before to the world's foremost subject matter experts. Professors can reach more students in one course than they could have hoped to in a lifetime. Universities can teach millions worldwide, and make time on-campus for interactive in-class learning. This is truly the future of higher education."