Chancellor Zimpher today announced that the SUNY System is one of 10 public university systems nationally to partner with Coursera to develop a common platform for the delivery of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The partnership will provide all SUNY campuses with an avenue to offer and use MOOCs on the Coursera platform as part of Open SUNY.
Coursera, the world’s largest MOOC platform provider, has more than 3.5 million learners enrolled in 374 courses to date. As coordination of SUNY MOOC activity on the Coursera platform will be formalized this summer, it will complement the Open SUNY vision that students could earn up to one-third of their college credits from sources outside their home campus.
“This new partnership with Coursera will be invaluable as we launch Open SUNY, which will give our students increased access to the online courses SUNY faculty offer in New York and worldwide,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Working with Coursera presents a fantastic opportunity for higher education systems across the country to increase educational access, instructional quality and exposure, and degree completion. SUNY students and faculty, alike, will benefit from this partnership as soon as this fall, and for many years to come.”
“We have an amazing opportunity to improve higher education in the U.S. through technology — both to serve students and give professors better tools for teaching,” said Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller. “The institutions partnering with Coursera today are opening up new possibilities to enhance education on campus, and make the best use of the powerful resources that already exist,” added co-founder Andrew Ng.
At the core of the Coursera partnership is the motivation to encourage new methods and enhance previous approaches to teaching both on-campus and online. With this access, SUNY faculty will have the opportunity to develop online courses as well as adapt existing MOOC content, which they can then incorporate into their own classrooms. This approach allows faculty to experiment with and improve upon existing “blended learning,” which combines online video lectures and content with active, in-person classroom interactions to increase classroom engagement.
Joining Coursera today in addition to SUNY are the Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee Systems, University of Colorado System, University of Houston System, University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska, University of New Mexico, University System of Georgia, and West Virginia University. The SUNY agreement was developed in partnership with Stony Brook University, which plans to deliver a MOOC on the Coursera platform in the fall of 2013.
The Coursera partnership opens up new channels for sharing knowledge and resources between professors, and across campuses and entire state university systems. Whether creating, modifying, or adding to their curriculums, SUNY faculty will have access to instructor-to-instructor interactions and discover best practices from a diverse community of education professionals. Additionally, campuses and faculty will soon be able to tap into the platform’s data analytics, which can identify learning obstacles and recognize gaps in subject matter, thus allowing professors to refocus their efforts for improved student outcomes.
By collaborating with institutions that span all levels of education — both public and private — and by maintaining a commitment to fostering student learning without limits, Coursera aims to lead the movement to expand the possibilities that MOOCs and online learning can enable.
Maxwell is the Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.