MINNEAPOLIS - Joining the likes of 33 other major college institutions, the University of Minnesota has jumped on the bandwagon of offering free online courses.
"Free education for vast segments of the world who don't have access to our wonderful campuses here in Minnesota is something we're interested in," explained Karen Hanson, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Coursera is a leader in what are called Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. Over the past year, nearly two million people have signed up for classes through Coursera.
The online courses are taught from professors at Princeton, Stanford and now the University of Minnesota. The U will initially offer five courses and there's already talk about the possibility of adding more.
"We'll be looking for a fuller range of courses to experiment with," said Hanson.
The U of M is one of four Big Ten universities to make the announcement along with 29 other universities from 13 countries, which nearly doubles the number of Coursera's participating schools.
"We're excited to see what happens," said Hanson. "We hope it's a benefit to the citizens of the state and citizens around the world and we think it will enhance education here on our residential campus as well."
The first round of U of M classes via Coursera begin in May.
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