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Online open course reaches the stars

Cite Magazine
Issue 22 - Summer 2013

Curtin’s move to globalise higher education with Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) saw the University launch its first MOOC in July.

Woman working at a desk
Student studies Curtin's first MOOC

“MOOCs are enabling Curtin to embrace new technology, teaching methods and learning,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education, Professor Jill Downie.

Almost 1,600 students enrolled into Curtin’s MOOC in astronomy, based on the Square Kilometre Array, which successfully delivered study material online to students via television-quality videos, multiple- choice questions and use of a simulator.

“MOOCs have a valuable place in the University’s Transforming Learning @ Curtin strategy, and we have much to learn about scalability and learning analytics from teaching such massive open classes,” Downie says.

“However, while some students want to learn online, many prefer a class environment, so at Curtin we are going with a flexible ‘converged’ model to cater for face-to-face and online teaching, MOOCs, and distributed learning for students in distant locations.”

Downie says Curtin bought new equipment for its distributed learning through video conferencing, and refurbished 11 classrooms, equipped with MOCOWs (mobile online computers on wheels).

Curtin’s second MOOC, on Australia–China trade relations, was launched in October, with plans for additional MOOCs in 2014.