There is an emerging trend in post-secondary education and it is driven by a digital learning platform the likes of which have not been seen before. Coursera was established in July 2012 and has so far handled the enrollment of 650,000 students from 190 countries. You may be wondering how they got such high figures in such a short amount of time; the simple answer is that they offer high levels of education for free.
Making Use of International Partners
One of the first international partners to join in the movement was the University of Toronto. They decided to offer three MOOCs (massive online open courses) within the faculty of arts and science which would be run through their computer science department. The online learning platform is also being used to form part of a pilot project based on inverted learning: a combination of online learning within an actual classroom.
Sven Dickinson, the department chair for Computer Science at the University of Toronto explains that they partnered with the online platform in an attempt to explore new avenues of learning at the university. The end goal would be to improve the learning outcomes of the students at the university.
Utilizing Technology in the Classroom
The vice dean of teaching and learning of the Arts and Science faculty believes that incorporating an online learning platform offers something completely revolutionary; the inclusion of online lecture videos and quizzes allow students to learn at their own pace. Once the course has been completed students will receive a certificate from the professor and university that has been hosting the class.
The pilot program also offers a great set of tools for universities to monitor the progress of their students as they complete quizzes and assignments. In the right circumstances the data can be used to show how effective the program actually is at teaching the students without constant supervision. It is hoped that in time the results can be utilized to make the partnering of technology and the classroom even more effective and perhaps open even more doors to students who may be interested in higher education but do not currently have the means to study.