U to offer MOOCs through Coursera partnership

by Tyler Gieseke

The University of Minnesota will offer massive open online courses through the website Coursera, officials announced Wednesday.

Massive open online courses, often called MOOCs, are online courses available for free to students around the world. In some cases, the courses reach tens of thousands of students, the Star Tribune said.

MOOCs will “make available to the broader public the expertise of our faculty,” Karen Hanson, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, told the Tribune.

Coursera will not charge the University to provide these courses on its site, according to a University press release.

Although the University will not award credit to students who complete MOOC courses, the University will retain the right to modify the online course material for use in traditional classes that students pay and receive credit for.

“The relation between completion of a MOOC and credit at a university like this is an issue which is going to require a lot more faculty attention,” Hanson told the Tribune. “We are proceeding cautiously here.”

The University plans to offer five courses, according to the press release. These include “Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics,” “Interprofessional Healthcare Informatics,” and “Canine Theriogenology for Dog Enthusiasts.”

Besides the University, three other Big 10 universities also agreed to partner with Coursera Wednesday, according to the press release. These institutions are Northwestern University, Penn State University and the University of Wisconsin. Currently, three other Big 10 institutions already offer courses through Coursera.