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TU Delft to offer free Massive Open Online Courses25 February 2013, by Mark McDaid
The Delft University of Technology is to offer a range of courses online via edX, a non-profit platform for online education. The oldest public technical university in the country will join educational heavyweights such as Harvard and MIT in offering free courses to anyone with an internet connection.
The courses, known as "Massive Open Online Courses" (MOOCs), do not require an applicant to have any prior education or to take an entry examination.
The first courses to be offered on the platform this year will be on Water Treatment Engineering, Solar Energy and Introduction to Aerospace Engineering, and they will be taught like any other course followed by on-campus students.
The courses will last for eight weeks and all of the course material, including video recordings and trial examinations, will be posted on edX. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with their fellow participants.
Though the university has already published over one hundred courses on another platform, OpenCourseWare, this new initiative ties participants into the campus rhythm of following a course over an eight week period.
Anka Mulder, Secretary General and Director of Education at TU Delft, sees the association with edX as a way to draw worldwide attention to the teaching and research being done at the institution, as well as helping to improve the regular on-campus education.
Photo by Flickr user CollegeDegrees360
However, she sees it also as an opportunity to learn more about online education, which will become an increasingly attractive option for the growing number of students looking to higher education around the world.
UNESCO estimates put the number of students in higher education by 2025 at some 80 million, which would require an almost impossible increase in the number of universities in the next 12 years to facilitate such demand.
Anka sees edX is the solution to this, saying that, "Online education offers opportunities to educate large groups of people. At TU Delft, we believe in the importance of gaining experience and exploring the possibilities right now.”