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UCT offering free online courses

Cape Town - Free online courses are to be offered by UCT next year, allowing anyone, anywhere in the world, access to its academics and researchers.

Massive Open Online Courses – or Moocs – are sweeping across higher education globally.

Other students, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the university was being far too lenient and trying to sweep the matter under the rug. Photo: Ross Jansen. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

According to Sandra Klopper, deputy vice-chancellor of strategic issues relating to teaching and learning at the university, these free online courses with no entry requirements were designed for mass participation and trusted that students would drive their own education.

“Moocs are a relatively recent development in the innovation of online learning – this time, offering to anyone with internet access a taste of university-level learning without the demands or cost of formal assessment. Moocs allow for features such as interactive online forums that can involve hundreds of students in peer-to-peer discussions, as well as access to video and audio lectures, and course materials in online format.”

She said the university had decided to develop its own online courses because it was believed the university had knowledge and learning that would be of interest to people both locally and globally.

Klopper said UCT had last month partnered with British-based Moocs provider FutureLearn.

She said several courses were being developed.

“We are working on a number of course proposals – in fields such as medicine, health sciences and the arts. UCT’s first courses will be delivered through FutureLearn (next year).

“They will be offered free to anyone in the world with an internet connection.”

Klopper said while there had been an increase in free online learning enrolments across the world no African universities offered Moocs.

Simon Nelson, chief executive of FutureLearn, said it had partnered with a number of top universities.

“I’m delighted that these universities have selected FutureLearn for their free online courses. The benefits are undeniable…” - Cape Times

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