21 May 2013

Have you ever wanted to dive into tropical reef research with a world-renowned marine scientist? Maybe travelling many times faster than the speed of sound interests you more?

People from across the globe will be able to access learning in areas taught by The University of Queensland's global experts in many top-ranked disciplines, with UQ joining the prestigious edX consortium.

UQ will initially offer four internet-based courses through edX, the world's leading consortium of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said UQ was one of only two Australian universities in the not-for-profit edX enterprise, founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

edX offers MOOCs to anyone with access to the internet, allowing millions of people worldwide to undertake tertiary studies for the first time.

"edX is a leading provider of MOOCs. A plethora of fine institutions have expressed an interest in joining edX so it is a testament to UQ's quality teaching and research that we have been invited to join such a select group of elite global partners such as MIT, Harvard and UC Berkeley," Professor Høj said.

"Online courses are a valuable addition to UQ's scope, enabling us to reflect and cater not only to the needs and aspirations of enrolled students but to extend our outreach to people all over the world."

MIT Professor and edX President Professor Anant Agarwal said online opportunities were transforming higher education by enabling interactive learning and giving researchers a lens into student learning interactions.

"We are pleased to welcome The University of Queensland to edX," said Professor Agarwal.

"Their world-class faculty and rich variety of courses will appeal to our growing, diverse community of students and we look forward to working alongside UQ as we improve learning online and on campus through research on the edX platform," he said.

Professor Høj said that edX courses had great potential to enhance the learning outcomes of UQ's existing degree programs and further enhance what the University referred to as the UQ Advantage.

"They will complement our existing strengths by exposing our most talented researchers and teachers to students right across the globe.

"MOOCs will also build UQ's capacity to use learning analytics, in an effort to track learning patterns - if we better understand the learning process we can ensure students get the most out of the learning process," Professor Høj said.

The four UQ courses - known as UQx courses - commencing in May 2014 are:

  • Hypersonics - from shock waves to scramjets, Professor David Mee
  • Tropical coastal ecosystems, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg
  • Biomedical imaging, Professor Graham Galloway
  • The science of everyday thinking, Dr Jason Tangen

"Universities are here to innovate, generate and disseminate knowledge and understanding. MOOCs represent a tremendous mechanism in this regard," said Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, who heads UQ's Global Change Institute.

"We are presenting a course on tropical coastal ecosystems. Given that these remarkable ecosystems are vital to the livelihoods of over 500 million people, our MOOC on the biology and management of mangroves, coral reefs and sea grasses should attract considerable interest."

To learn more about UQx courses go to: http://uqx.uq.edu.au

Anyone can sign up for UQx courses by joining edX at: https://www.edx.org


Media: Anna Bednarek, UQ Communications, 07 3346 7691 / a.bednarek@uq.edu.au