10 More Public, State Colleges Join Coursera to Offer MOOCs

As the popularity of massive online open courses (MOOCs) grows, ten more state colleges and public universities from around the United States have affiliated with Coursera to provide a MOOC platform. However, the schools’ primary concern in creating these courses may be to supplement their on campus curriculum as opposed to broadcasting to a worldwide audience, according to Larry Gordon from the LA Times.

MOOCs supplement the “blended classrooms” that already utilize videotaped lectures from various online classes. They are being used as a virtual and visual textbook as a tool to complement traditional face to face teaching and evaluation.

Thursday’s announcement of the new partnerships means that the state schools, from New York to New Mexico, will experiment with using Coursera’s massive online open course (MOOC) video and testing platform to improve and widen online learning on their own campuses, officials said.

The institutions are the State University of New York, the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Board of Regents (which oversees other public campuses in that state), University of Colorado system, University of Houston system, University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska, University of New Mexico, University System of Georgia and West University System.

The majority of MOOC classes have not been used to obtain academic credit — so far.

According to Daphne Koller, one of the two Stanford University professors who founded the Mountain View, California-based Coursera last year, the main goal of the schools’ partnership with Coursera is for the universities to pull potential in-state students back into degree programs. It can also hasten graduation rates and allow high school students to get a jump start on a college education.

Coursera is already working with several University of California campuses to offer non-credit classes, as is its rival edX, a nonprofit MOOC platform based out of Massachusetts. There are even some MOOC that students can take for credits offered by Cal State schools through edX and another for-profit MOOC provider Udacity.

The University of New Mexico, one of ten schools to newly join with Coursera, reports that 15% of the school’s credit hours are already obtained through its own online courses. The Provost Chaouki Abdallah predicts that the partnership with Coursera could boost that another 10% in the future.

He said he did not think many of those new online courses would wholly rely on Coursera’s content from other universities but that New Mexico faculty likely will developing their own online material, blending it with lectures and presentations from other Coursera classes and maintain live classroom discussion and assignments.

“I don’t know how this is going to end up,” he said of the new online initiatives. “I am looking at it as an experiment.”