Two Engineering Classes to be Part of Massive Open Online Courses

Starting this fall, students around the globe will have the opportunity to participate in nine dynamic massive open online courses (MOOCs) to be offered by The University of Texas at Austin.

The Cockrell School of Engineering will offer two of the nine courses. These courses, titled “Introduction to Embedded Systems” and “Energy, Technology & Policy,” will give students access to the school’s world-class faculty and engineering curriculum.

The free online courses will be deployed on the edX platform during the 2013-14 academic year. EdX is an online nonprofit learning initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in May 2012. In October the University of Texas System became the fourth partner in the edX consortium of leading colleges, universities and university systems. Other members include Harvard, MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, Wellesley College and Georgetown University.

The University of Texas at Austin plans to deploy the first four MOOCs in fall 2013, followed by an additional five in spring 2014. Faculty and course development teams will use state-of-the-art approaches to build the content, assessments and technology for each course.

“Our faculty is enthusiastic about this frontier, and I’m proud that The University of Texas is in the vanguard of blended and online learning,” said university President Bill Powers. “Innovations like this make it an exciting time to be in higher education.”

These courses, which will be designed and taught by award-winning faculty members, are as follows:

Fall 2013 launch

Ideas of the Twentieth Century — Daniel Bonevac, College of Liberal Arts; Roy Flukinger, Harry Huntt Ransom Humanities Research Center

Introduction to Globalization — John Hoberman, College of Liberal Arts

Bench to Bedside: Introduction to Drug Development and the Commercialization Process — Janet Walkow, College of Pharmacy; Donna Kidwell, IC2 Institute; Alan Watts, College of Pharmacy

Energy Technology & Policy — Michael Webber, Cockrell School of Engineering

Spring 2014 launch

Jazz Appreciation — Jeffrey Hellmer, College of Fine Arts

Foundations of Data Analysis — Catherine Stacy and Michael Mahometa, College of Natural Sciences

Mathematics and Effective Thinking — Michael Starbird, College of Natural Sciences

Introduction to Embedded Systems — Jonathan Valvano and Ramesh Yerraballi, Cockrell School of Engineering

Linear Algebra: Theory and Computation — Robert van de Geijn and Margaret Myers, College of Natural Sciences

The courses will meet high standards and are designed to improve student success, said Steven Mintz, executive director of the UT System’s Institute for Transformational Learning, which works with the system’s 15 institutions to promote educational innovation and expand access to affordable, quality education.

“We love the idea that people who have never been to college will get to see what a college course looks like,” Mintz said. “Hopefully, it will persuade them to pursue higher education.”

The university plans to announce the specific start date for the fall courses this summer. The flexibility of MOOCs allows for a beginning and end date that is not bound by the traditional academic calendar year, which encourages a global classroom where anyone in the world can register and participate.

 For more information, contact: Harrison Keller, Vice Provost for Higher Education Policy and Research, (512) 232-8277; Jaimie Lenhardt, Center for Teaching and Learning (512) 475-7917.