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Free online courses will showcase the University's strength, and attract the best students, say University of Copenhagen sources to the University Post, as it opts into the 2.6 million user Coursera platform
They say a good professor knows her students by name. But what if there are twenty thousand of them?
This is one of the challenges that will be faced by some University of Copenhagen professors, which starting in the Fall of 2013 will lecture online on the Coursera platform.
Coursera offers free courses from some of the best world’s universities, including Princeton and Stanford. At present, Coursera offers hundreds of courses to 2.6 million users. See our background article here.
On Coursera, universities offer courses which are not part of the syllabus. In the Fall semester of 2013, the University of Copenhagen will start with just four courses from areas which have a strong international research profile.
The first courses to be launched will deal with global health challenges,
the Nordic diet (open to anyone with a basic knowledge of biochemistry) and constitutions in the Muslim world.
A course on Kierkegaard will follow in October. In 2014, courses on Scandinavian film and television, diabetes, universe formation and causal effect in Social Sciences will be launched.
“Coursera is a great opportunity to show students all over the world the areas of strength of the University of Copenhagen, with the aim to attract the best ones,” says Lasse Jensen from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences to the University Post.
Coursera courses are six to 10 weeks long, with a couple of hours of lectures per week. Every few minutes, one-question quizzes are asked to check that students are keeping pace. Each course has a forum where students can ask questions and help each other.
“We expect Coursera to be useful to both students and professors. Professors could learn how to make their teaching more stimulating, and students will have the opportunity to use more efficiently the time they study alone,” he continues.
On Ku.dk, Ralf Hemmingsen, Rector of the University of Copenhagen states that Coursera is a revolutionary democratisation of access to knowledge.
It “ties in well with the University of Copenhagen’s tradition that research and teaching should benefit society at large”, he says.
“We are already operating in a globalised world of research and education, and with Coursera the University’s interaction with the world will be considerably strengthened”.
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