UW News

July 18, 2012

UW is first U.S. school to give credit for classes, certificate programs on massive open online course platform

Professional And Continuing Education

The University of Washington is about to become the first university in the United States to provide classes for university credit using a massive open online course learning platform.

UW is planning courses that will be made available in multiple ways, tailoring innovative options to match consumer needs. Free, non-credit versions will use the Coursera platform, providing access to high-quality education for anyone.  In addition, enhanced, instructor-led versions will result in UW credit and/or certificate credentials when successfully completed.

“Increasing access to meet a variety of educational needs is vital to building an informed community and has been a key part of the University of Washington’s mission for 150 years,” said Provost Ana Mari Cauce. “We’re pleased to align with Coursera’s online learning platform and join other institutions in using technology to reach a variety of learners in innovative ways.”

Initial UW offerings on Coursera are currently under development for the  2012-13 academic year. They will include several free classes with an option for enhanced, instructor-led versions for a fee that lead to UW credit and/or a certificate. Pricing for the credit offerings is under review and will be comparable to current UW credit courses and certificate programs.

Offerings ready for launch this year include:

  • An applied mathematics program in scientific computing.
  • Computer science courses, including several in programming.
  • A linked sequence in computational finance.
  • A three-course certificate in information security and risk management.

Each of these online programs focuses on student and employer demand using transferable resources, including video that UW has available and can be developed for use on Coursera’s platform. More courses are expected to launch once initial offerings have been developed. In each case, the course will increase access to world-class UW educational resources for a large population of online learners around the globe. Expanding access to the expertise of the university has been the mission of UW Educational Outreach since 1912.

“Going forward, we anticipate using Coursera’s platform as a gateway to offer more University of Washington courses that are free to the general public, with enhanced versions of our Coursera classes that will be overseen by an instructor and allow students to earn a UW credential with additional work,” said David Szatmary, vice provost of UW Educational Outreach. “All UW classes on Coursera and the UW credentialed options will be approved and taught by world-class departments at the University of Washington. We are very pleased to be part of this new movement that provides ever greater access to the best classes in the world.”