UCT will be joining leading universities from around the world in offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), a form of online education that can increase the reach of UCT's first-class teaching.
MOOCs are free with no entry requirements and allow for features such as interactive online forums that can involve hundreds of students in peer-to-peer discussions, as well as access to video lectures and course materials in online format.
UCT, in partnership with the British-based MOOC provider, FutureLearn will launch its first series of MOOCs in early in 2015.
FutureLearn is wholly owned by The Open University, a 44-year veteran in distance and online learning. The company's partners include more than 38 of the best UK and international universities, in addition to institutions with a huge archive of cultural and educational material, including the British Council, the British Library and the British Museum.
There has been a rise in enrolments in free online learning on a massive global scale. In this way millions of people from around the world are using internet access to engage a fascinating range of topics, learning alongside thousands of fellow students from many different countries.
Says UCT's Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sandra Klopper: "In developing UCT's MOOC strategy, we have been mindful of the scarcity of contributing universities from the Global South, and from Africa in particular. We believe there is an opportunity to share knowledge generated from our leading academics and researchers, and to showcase the university's rich array of intellectual and teaching resources.
"UCT MOOCs are being developed with the support of UCT's Centre for Higher Education Development. They will be designed to appeal to anyone around the world, but we will be mindful of the needs of participants from developing country contexts.
"We are aware of the challenges many potential learners face with regards to technology and access. In response, we intend to place special emphasis on accessibility for audiences that are limited by bandwidth provision and device capacities. Engaging with hundreds of learners online will require innovative approaches to course design, communications, pedagogy and technology, to ensure the optimum learning experiences for a broad range of people. Such lessons can be applied to enhancing our formal on-campus, blended and online courses.
"UCT looks forward to working with FutureLearn on developing its first series of MOOCs, which we plan to launch early in 2015."
If you have any questions or comments about the launch of UCT MOOCs, please email Janet Small in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching.
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