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NUS to offer free online courses on Coursera

22 February 2013

Assoc Prof Edwards (left) and Prof Scarani will be offering their specialised online courses on Coursera from January 2014

From January 2014, anyone from anywhere in the world will be able to access NUS' select online courses through Coursera, a leading massive open online course platform (MOOC) which has tie-ups with more than 60 universities around the world.

The first university in Singapore to partner Coursera, NUS will be offering two specialised online courses.

One is an eight-week cross-disciplinary lecture entitled "Unpredictable? Randomness, Chance and Free Will" by Professor Valerio Scarani from the Centre for Quantum Technologies at NUS. It will cover the usefulness of randomness in communication and computation, the intrinsic randomness of quantum phenomena, the unpredictability of the weather, the role of chance in evolution, and the implications of the neural activity of the brain on a person's "free will".

The second course "Write Like Mozart: An Introduction to Classical Music Composition" by Associate Professor Peter Ivan Edwards at the NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music will be conducted over six weeks. This introduces the strategies for style writing of common practice European art music, looking at issues of harmonic progression, voice leading, texture and relevant compositional concepts.

NUS Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs) Professor Tan Eng Chye was thrilled that more students can now access and benefit from NUS' educational offerings on Coursera's open online platform which will accelerate knowledge sharing in higher education globally. "Coupled with the rising widespread interest in the top-rate Asian and global expertise offered by NUS, this natural partnership will enable us to broaden access to specialised knowledge," he said.

Prof Tan also noted that MOOCs have created a buzz on campuses around the world, and triggered a rethinking of education missions, pedagogical models and the role of technology in education. The collaboration with Coursera will further build an innovative technology-enhanced education culture on the NUS campus, part of the University's recent Learning Innovation Fund – Technology (LIFT) initiative to support the imaginative use of technology-enhanced learning.

Co-Founder of Coursera Associate Professor Andrew Ng said: "Students worldwide come to Singapore each year for a great education; using Coursera's platform, we're excited to bring some of NUS courses to everyone in the world, for free."

Coursera's courses are available by subject, diverse perspectives and in multiple languages such as French, Spanish, Chinese and Italian. More than 2.7 million users from at least 196 countries have registered online, with some 1.45 million course enrollments per month. The platform has recently begun offering students opportunities to receive credit and recognition for their work: through Signature Track, which provides verified certificates and shareable course records; or through Credit Recommendations from the American Council of Education, which allows students to receive transfer credit to college degree programmes for select courses.