Penn Launches Free Online Courses via Coursera

The University of Pennsylvania has just jumped on board the “free online course” train, and has announced that they are going to follow in the footsteps of institutions such as MIT in making their courses available online, in the hopes of reaching out to a broader base of students. The courses are going to be made available through Coursera, an educational based platform that is bringing online classes to students everywhere in an easy and accessible manner.

Open Course Program Gains Momentum

From the moment this shift was announced, students have been jumping at the chance to apply for courses based around Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, and the program now boasts 50,000 students and counting. The three main branches that the courses are going to focus on include The Fundamental of Pharmacology, Vaccines and Health Policy And The Affordable Act Care.

Building On The Quality Of Online Distance Learning

The courses do not only aim to provide the students with online lectures; they also plan to provide additional materials, which should be studied in conjunction with lectures, as well as assignments that will evaluate whether the outcomes of the modules have been met. The social media aspect of the course platform allows students to interact with each other, discuss their classes and begin discussions that will add another level of understanding to the materials at hand.

The Globalization Of Education

Amy Guttman, the president of Penn, has stated that this new move is one that is going to strengthen the university’s image and professional standing, but she also marks it down to the responsibility of high education institutions to allow people all over the globe to access quality education. In her own words; “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.”

Overcoming Obstacles To Higher Education

It seems that universities all over the country are coming to the same conclusions with regards to the value of online education, especially in terms of students who cannot attend a specific university due to financial or geographic constraints, and these online courses seem to be opening up a whole new world for them. As the interim executive director of this new initiative at Penn, Deirdre Woods, states, “Embracing online learning communities is an opportunity to shape the conversation about the future of education and clearly there’s a demand for the wealth of knowledge that Penn has to share.”