Edinburgh offers free Higgs boson course for online learners

Online learners around the world are being offered the chance to study the work of Edinburgh particle physicist Professor Peter Higgs as part of a free course.

September 19, 2013 5:01 IST | India Infoline News Service
The seven-week course, entitled The Discovery of the Higgs boson, describes the scientific advancements that have led to the building of the Large Hadron Collider, in Switzerland, and to the detection of the boson. It highlights the cross-fertilisation between theory and experiment in particle physics during the past 100 years.

The University of Edinburgh is offering the course as its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) via the FutureLearn platform. FutureLearn is a partnership of 23 leading universities, together with the British Museum, British Council and British Library, which gives learners the opportunity to access high quality courses for free.

Professor Arthur Trew, Head of School for Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I am very pleased that Peter’s incredible work will now be available to a worldwide audience of learners to analyse and discuss. Peter’s research has provided us with profound insight into the building blocks of the Universe and this course will allow anyone with a computer and access to the web to take part in the exciting and revolutionary times that we live in.”

The course will feature interviews with Professor Higgs and filmed lectures by a team of world-class physicists at the University of Edinburgh. Students can then debate what they have seen using dedicated online discussion spaces, as well as via social media.

The University of Edinburgh has pioneered online learning and was the first university in the UK to offer MOOCs via the Coursera platform. Coursera is a partnership of international universities which offers higher-education standard learning opportunities to all. More than 300,000 learners benefitted from Edinburgh’s MOOCs in 2013.

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal of the University of Edinburgh said: “The Higgs MOOC offers a hugely exciting opportunity for learners to experience university-standard courses, at no cost to themselves. Over the next 12 months, we will be announcing details of more than a dozen MOOCs, across a range of subjects, reinforcing Edinburgh’s position as a world-leader in online learning.”

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