Duke University to Offer Free Online Classes

Duke University joined 15 other higher education institutions when they announced they too will begin offering free, non-credit online courses to students interested in furthering their educational prospects. This announcement has followed in the wake of some of the most renowned institutions, such as MIT and Harvard, stating that they too will be offering these courses to students from around the world; and all they need to sign up is an internet connection.

Coursera To Start The Revolution

The universities that are signing along with Duke University are set to partner with Coursera, an online course generator that will turn this dream into a reality. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Stanford are among the institutions that are jumping on board, and they are hoping to expand on the 650,000 students that are already furthering their prospects through offerings by Coursera.

Innovation At The Forefront Of Education

It seems as if there has been a major push towards innovation in terms of how universities connect and work alongside students, and this is what convinced Peter Lange, the provost of Duke University to begin advocating for these changes. This shift has not only concentrated on the online offerings themselves, but also on the concept of “flipped classes”, in which students watch a lecture prior to their classes and then use the time that they have in class to delve into the lesson materials.

Experimenting With a Global Revolution

Duke University seems to be following the same motto as many of the institutions that will now make these online courses available to interested parties; this is an experiment, and the aim is to determine whether these new changes are sufficient to open up the world of higher education to anyone willing to study. As students begin filtering in for these courses, the challenges they face, as well as the results obtained will be used to determine what alterations should be made to the courses. In part, this is a trial that will help institutions reach a wider base of students by constantly improving on the methods, materials and support being offered. Ultimately, this experiment will determine the direction that online education will take in the future, and expectations are high.

Opening Up Their Courses To The Public

Duke will be offering courses that include human physiology, philosophy, engineering, astronomy, nursing and neuroscience, and there are 10 faculty members who have already signed on to begin working on the video recordings, as well as the assignments that will be presented to online students. Students will be allowed to take any course that interests them, and since they will not receive credits or get graded on their assignments, this will not impede on the time of the faculty members.

Although students opting for these free courses will not be expected to pay, this might change in the future, depending on the direction that is taken with regards to these offerings. Excitement and expectations are high, with regards to these new offerings, and while there is still a long way to go, in terms of the development of these courses, the roots for success seem to have been firmly established.