Georgia Tech Expands MOOC Offerings

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Jason Maderer
Media Relations


With a $150,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Georgia Institute of Technology will develop three massive open online courses (MOOCs) targeted at those who have yet to pursue or complete a college degree. Unlike many existing MOOCs, which tend to feature advanced topics, the new courses will cover introductory topics in the subjects of English composition, physics and psychology. Each will be available free through Coursera and is scheduled to begin in January 2013.

The Georgia Tech Research Corporation received the grant, and will work with the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U), the College of Sciences and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts to develop the innovative online learning courses.

“These Gates Foundation awards address one of higher education’s most pressing problems: bending the cost curve and improving learning outcomes for introductory courses,” said Rich DeMillo, director of C21U. “The Georgia Tech courses being funded by these grants all represent innovation in pedagogy, teaching and technology. If we are successful, courses like these will be a shift in both quality and cost for the vast majority of American college students.”

Professor Rebecca Burnett and Assistant Professor Karen Head in the School of Literature, Media and Communication will lead First-Year Composition 2.0. School of Physics Professor Michael Schatz will offer Your World is Your Laboratory: College-Level Introductory Physics, and School of Psychology Professor Emeritus Anderson Smith will lead Introduction to Psychology as a Science.

“MOOCs are an exciting innovation. They hold great promise but are not without challenges, and we are still discovering their full potential,” said Dan Greenstein, director of Postsecondary Success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We believe having diverse options for faculty and students that meet a wide array of learning needs and styles can enhance student engagement, improve educational outcomes and increase college completion rates. We are eager to learn from and share the data that will be generated from these investments in MOOCs.”

Earlier this year, Georgia Tech announced a partnership with Coursera to offer online courses. Currently, registration is open for eight courses led by Georgia Tech professors. The courses have a combined enrollment of more than 140,000 students. The first class, Computational Investing, Part 1, began in October.