University of Colorado MOOC enrollments top 2 million

CU’s 95 free, online course offerings reach 194 countries
By Staff

A leader in massive open online courses – or MOOCs – the University of Colorado recently exceeded 2 million enrollments since first offering the classes in 2013.

“Reaching the 2 million enrollment mark is a testament to CU’s innovative faculty and the quality of the content they and their development teams have produced,” said Deborah Keyek-Franssen, associate vice president for digital education and engagement at the CU system.

Now offering 95 courses reaching 194 countries, CU has long been a pioneer in the MOOC space. In 2017-18, CU launched more than 60 new MOOCs, such as the Compassionate Leadership Through Service Learning with world renowned primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall; Science of Exercise; and Coexistence in Medieval Spain: Jews, Christians and Muslims; and over three dozen courses in cybersecurity.

CU’s four campuses also offer 18 specializations composed of four to seven MOOCs that work together as a series and may include certification and/or a capstone experience. New specializations range from Programing for Unity Game Development to Fundamentals of Computer Network Security to The Teacher and Social and Emotional Learning.

Besides being a leader in online offerings, the university is stepping into revolutionary territory this fall as CU Boulder launches a new and innovative MOOC-delivered master’s degree in electrical engineering – the first of its type in the world. The specialization will enable those who already have a background in electrical engineering to take the next step and attain their master’s degree – anywhere across the globe.

“The online master’s in electrical engineering is a truly innovative project that advances the platform in a number of ways,” said William Kuskin, CU Boulder vice provost and associate vice chancellor for Strategic Initiatives. “The department, and the university as a whole, has come together to create a cutting-edge degree that will afford access to higher education to a tremendous amount of people who would not otherwise be able to reach it. I’m very proud of everyone involved."

On average, MOOCs comprise a four-week course with one to three hours of effort each week by a student, Keyek-Franssen said. Learners may access videos, formative (non-graded) assessments, and discussion forums for free. To receive feedback and grades on assessments, learners may pay a subscription fee – around $49-$79 a month – and receive a certificate that’s valued in the market.

“One of the best outcomes of innovations in at-scale learning is that CU faculty excellence is recognized around the globe,” she said. “The majority of learners enrolled in CU courses and specializations on the Coursera platform are from continents other than North America, which brings a global perspective to discussion forums and peer interactions.”

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