University of Nebraska to work with leading MOOC provider Coursera to significantly expand access to online course content

University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken announced today that NU will begin working with Coursera, a leading provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs), to expand access to the university’s rich course content and talented faculty to significantly more individuals via distance learning.

The University of Nebraska is one of 10 state university systems and public university flagship institutions announcing today their intent to join Coursera. Coursera already partners with 70 leading universities in the U.S. and beyond, including seven Big Ten institutions.

The collaboration will provide NU faculty from all four campuses the opportunity to explore new and enhanced learning technologies that benefit students and advance the university’s mission. Milliken noted that the details of the university’s involvement with Coursera – including what course content might be offered and when it might become available – will depend on interest among faculty members and a review process at the university. Participation in Coursera will be entirely voluntary for faculty.

“I’m very pleased to be working with Coursera to explore how we might leverage technology to expand access to high-quality University of Nebraska course content to many more people,” Milliken said. “This is an exciting new opportunity that builds on our long history of providing distance learning to students everywhere.”

Milliken noted that the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide remains NU’s primary platform for providing distance education. Online Worldwide, which provides access to more than 130 online degree, certificate and endorsement programs offered by the four campuses, has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly among distance-only students. University of Nebraska Online Worldwide will continue to be a priority for the university as it works to expand access to more Nebraskans and others seeking a flexible, quality education, including the 290,000 Nebraskans who have completed some college but have not earned a degree.

Partnership with Coursera offers additional opportunities for the university to expand access to education and increase its name recognition, particularly among international students. Coursera offers hundreds of free courses in a wide range of topics, including the humanities, medicine, biology, social science, mathematics, business, computer science and others. The courses are open to anyone wishing to acquire new skills, advance his or her career or simply learn new information.

The partnership also creates new opportunities for faculty to collaborate with their colleagues at different institutions in order to share and discover best practices from a diverse community of education professionals.

In addition to the University of Nebraska, nine other universities announced today their plans to work with Coursera: the State University of New York (SUNY), Tennessee Board of Regents, University of Colorado, University of Houston System, University of Kentucky, University of New Mexico, University System of Georgia, University of Tennessee and West Virginia University.

“We think the coming decade will see a transformation in the way education is delivered, where teachers and online content come together to better serve students on campus and beyond,” said Daphne Koller, Coursera co-founder. Koller was a keynote speaker at the University of Nebraska’s Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium earlier this month, which drew more than 500 faculty, staff and administrators interested in the role of technology in the rapidly changing landscape of education.

Andrew Ng, the second co-founder of Coursera, said: “With this announcement, we take a step further in our goal to expand quality education to all.”

Answers to frequently asked questions about Coursera are available online.

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Melissa Lee
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