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UCI Partners with Coursera to offer free online courses

Six classes will be made available to millions of students worldwide

by Gabriel CortésPublished: October 05, 2012 08:30 AM

The University of California, Irvine will offer six free online courses through a new partnership with the online education platform Coursera.  The university will contribute six new courses to Coursera’s online repository in an effort to provide greater public access to university-level instruction.

The six courses that UCI will add to the online library include algebra, pre-calculus, microeconomics, fundamentals of personal financial planning, and principles of public health. The final course, “Science from superheroes to global warming,” will explore how the study of science is executed and how it is applicable to real-world issues and popular culture topics.

Other universities that have partnered with Coursera include Brown, Columbia, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Coursera relies on 33 higher-learning institution partners, both in the United States and abroad, to add to its course catalogue.

“We are excited to join so many distinguished universities in contributing to free and open courses designed to benefit large numbers of students,” said Gary W. Matkin, dean of Continuing Education, Distance Learning and Summer Session at UCI Extension. “UCI’s agreement with Coursera advances our ability to fulfill our public and land-grant missions of providing inexpensive access to high quality university education.”

The move to join Coursera comes as part of UC Irvine’s OpenCourseWare initiative, which offers free online courses and tutorials in a wide range of subjects. Initiated in 2006, the project is directed toward working adults who seek to continue their education. The university also allows individuals to enroll in instructor-led, for-credit courses related to the OpenCourseWare content.

Coursera launched in April 2012 and was founded by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. It has grown rapidly, and, as of August, more than one million students have enrolled in at least one of Coursera’s offerings. The available courses cover a wide range of subject areas and topics, and they strive to help students learn new material quickly and effectively.

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