In January 2014, Yale will begin offering its own massive open online courses through MOOC provider Coursera. The initial run features four free, noncredit courses: "Roman Architecture," "Financial Markets," "Moralities of Everyday Life," and "Constitutional Law." Yale joins the over 60 universities currently partnered with Coursera, including Stanford, Princeton, Columbia and Georgia Tech, bringing the total number of institutions offering courses through the platform to 70.
"We are delighted by the chance to have Yale faculty work with Coursera to extend the reach of their teaching beyond the campus," said Yale President-elect Peter Salovey. "My colleagues admire [Coursera co-founders] Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng's vision for sharing high quality course materials for free around the world, and we look forward to being a part of Coursera's growing network."
The announcement follows a report that circulated five months ago amongst Yale faculty stressing the importance of online programs, and how it might benefit the university. In conjunction with the Coursera partnership, Yale has created a committee to oversee online education and appointed music professor Craig Wright as academic director. While Wright's position may be new, he brings considerable experience in the field of online learning. Along with co-chairing the faculty committee for online education, he also taught online courses for the school's Summer Session.
"We want to continue Yale's traditional role of disseminating [knowledge] around the world and make the great ideas that the faculty at Yale generate accessible to everyone," Wright told Yale Daily News.
Courses will last anywhere from six-to-15 weeks, and are to be taught by established Yale professors. The instructors handling these first classes include art history and classics professor Diane Kleiner, economics professor Robert Shiller, political science professor Akhil Amar, and psychology professor Paul Bloom.
Shiller is particularly interested in the new partnership and thinks that adding a MOOC component will allow Yale to help shape the changing educational landscape. "It's kind of exciting because I think it's not clear where education is going, and I'd like to experiment with other forms," he told Yale Daily News. "There's a lot of interest in these new courses. It seems to be a transformational moment, though I'm not sure that it is."
"Yale joins online education platform Coursera," articles.latimes.com, May 15, 2013, Stephen Ceasar
"Yale partners with MOOC platform Coursera," yaledailynews.com, May 17, 2013, Sophie Gould and Jane Darby Menton
"Yale University Joins Coursera," blog.coursera.org, May 15, 2013