University of London Joins Online Education Project Coursera

October 27, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. course (n.) [kawrs, kohrs] – a series of classes or lessons at school that focus on one subject
Example: To improve his design skills, he took a basic drawing course last college semester.

2. partner (v.) [pahrt-ner] – to work together with another group or person
Example: The school partnered with the city’s research facility for a new project.

3. base (v.) [beys] – to put the headquarters of a company or organization in a specific location
Example: The company’s main office is based in America.

4. accredited (adj.) [uh-kred-i-tid] – accepted by an authority as true or official
Example: Colleges provide graduates with accredited diplomas as proof that the students successfully finished their studies.

5. conventional (adj.) [kuhn-ven-shuh-nl] – traditional or usual
Example: Finding information on the Internet has almost replaced the conventional method of researching in the library.

Read the text below.

The University of London’s International Program has recently joined the free online education project Coursera. Through Coursera, the university will be offering five online courses in psychology, law, computer programming, photojournalism and digital media.

Online university project Coursera has so far partnered with more than 30 universities located in America, Hong Kong, Australia, Britain and other countries.

Based in California, Coursera was started by scholars in Stanford University. It now offers over 200 free courses designed by the different universities. About 1.3 million students are currently enrolled in the online project.

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller said they wanted to make education easy to access globally. She said they are proud to give students a variety of educational experience through universities around the world.  The project offers students another option to conventional campus-based classes, which are frequently costly.

As of now, however, Coursera does not offer accredited degrees to students when they complete a course, but other methods are being done to recognize online students’ work.

Jonathan Kydd, dean of University of London’s International Programs, hopes that students who try the free online courses at Coursera will be encouraged to take up full degree courses.

Other universities that have recently joined Coursera are Brown University, University of Florida and Vanderbilt University in the US, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, the University of British Columbia in Canada and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would online courses like Coursera be popular among students in your country? Please explain your answer.
·         Do you think that taking online classes is better than having lessons in a classroom? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How does the Internet help students with their studies?  
·         What can be the disadvantages of using the Internet as a learning tool?


October 27, 2012