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Free online courses part of Curtin’s new ‘virtual classroom’ course delivery

Alumni News

Curtin is helping bring free education to the world, with another Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) which opened in mid-March.

MOOC teacher John Morgan standing in front of a drawing of astronomy equipment
Dr John Morgan demonstrating concepts during the ‘Discovering the Universe through Science and Technology’ MOOC.

The six-week MOOC ‘Participating in the Digital Age’ explores the role of the digital world in our daily lives and how we can participate. It joins Curtin’s two other MOOCs that opened in 2013: ‘Discovering the Universe through Science and Technology’ and ‘Australia China Trade’.

‘Discovering the Universe through Science and Technology’ saw more than 6,000 students enrol and impressive completion rates of more than 30 per cent.

Curtin also has plans for a Digital Marketing MOOC that can provide financial benefit for learners who go on to study further at Curtin. The University hopes that students who successfully complete the MOOC and enrol in Curtin’s Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing will receive financial credit for a unit of their studies.

“Through our Learning for Tomorrow strategy, we’re reconfiguring our approach to education at Curtin,” said Professor Jill Downie, Curtin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education. “MOOCs have the potential for the kind of global scale and reach that will help us engage our vision for new markets, and there are opportunities to leverage MOOC-principles to scale delivery of more conventional units.”

MOOCs aren’t the only programs that will benefit from Curtin’s new approach to learning. From 2016, Curtin degree courses will be delivered using a mix of traditional on-campus teaching, flipped classes, technology-enriched environments and distributed learning techniques such as 3D technology that actively engage students.

“In some respects the future has already arrived at Curtin. We know the challenges are vast – but so are the opportunities.” Professor Jill Downie

The ‘virtual classroom’ method is already being used to distribute one of the University’s nursing courses to WA’s remote north-west and there are plans to offer first year health sciences and other courses to other parts of regional WA and Curtin’s Singapore Campus.

“In some respects the future has already arrived at Curtin. We know the challenges are vast – but so are the opportunities,” said Professor Downie. “It’s an exciting time to be educators, providing world-class, engaging opportunities within the framework of a classroom – but one without walls, time limits and geographical constraints.”

Learn more about Curtin’s MOOCs.