Future of online higher education to be discussed

Second Annual Coursera Partners’ Conference to be held in London.

April 01, 2014 5:24 IST | India Infoline News Service
More than 400 delegates will gather in London next week to examine how Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can help meet the world’s need for improved access to higher education.

The two-day conference, hosted by the University of London and co-organised by the University of Edinburgh, will be led by Coursera, the online learning platform that has so far attracted seven million students to sign-up for its free and open courses.

In attendance will be university presidents, provosts, chancellors, senior academics and a wide range of educational experts from around the world, who will confer on how technology can be used to address the global demand for higher education.

"We are honoured to have the company of many great leaders in education as we explore the future of innovation in our field," said Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera. "One year ago, we gathered to discuss this great venture that we had undertaken with MOOCs. A year before that, few had ever heard of or even considered the possibility of MOOCs as we know them now. Today, thanks to our pioneering partners, MOOCs are not a mere experiment, but a powerful tool for addressing education needs around the world, and a pedagogically grounded solution for institutions seeking to advance education on and off their campuses."

With more than 600 Coursera courses on offer from more than 100 partner institutions, the conference will see partners exchanging ideas in workshop sessions, as well as hearing presentations from leading figures in the online learning arena.

The University of London’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Adrian Smith said: “All of us here at the University of London are looking forward to hosting the Coursera Partners’ Conference. In doing so, the University of London will be playing a part in what I am sure will prove to be a significant historical step in the development of the way in which the higher education meets the growing global demand for quality higher education and lifelong learning in future years.”

The University of Edinburgh, which became the first university in Europe to join Coursera, is one of the biggest providers in the UK of online learning. Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, who will attend the conference, said: “Edinburgh’s commitment to free online courses has led to more than 600,000 learners signing up for our MOOCs. With more than a dozen courses on offer, we are determined to make important new knowledge accessible and open to everyone and anyone.”

Viewers from around the world will be able to watch the conference keynote presentation from Coursera co-founders Koller and Andrew Ng via live stream on YouTube beginning at 8:45am GMT on Monday March 31.

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