University of Wollongong joins MOOCs race

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University of Wollongong joins MOOCs race

Chooses Open2Study platform.

The University of Wollongong has chosen Australian massive open online course (MOOC) provider Open2Study for its deployment of free online courses to the public.

The Open2Study platform, which was launched by Open Universities Australia in March, was built in 22 weeks using an agile scrum methodology.

Open2Study, which also counts Swinburne University as a partner, boasts a course completion rate of 25-27 percent, well above the industry average of 7 percent. It also offers partners access to data analytics in order to help the sector better understand the online study behavior of students.

The University of Wollongong will offer two MOOCs to begin with - understanding common diseases and contemporary issues in ocean governance - though neither will count as credit towards University of Wollongong degrees.

The partnership is just one of many the university planned to make in the online learning arena, said Sarah Lambert, manager for open education at University of Wollongong.

She said the university had chosen Open2Study because of Open Universities Australia's reputation in the region.

"They’ve been innovative in our region and they're also partnering more and more with niche providers in particular areas of very high quality, so their whole supply chain is quite robust."

Lambert said the data analytics on offer from Open2Study was just the "icing on the cake" of the overall offering.

She said the university had recently appointed its own director of learning analytics as more and more data became available.

Open2Study courses are split into four-week modules with video playing a major role in the teaching process. There are also online discussion forums for discussing the materials, with Open2Study facilitators providing online support.

The University of Wollongong launch comes as Open2Study competitor Coursera expands into China. Coursera last week signed a deal with Chinese intetnet company NetEase.

The deal will see the two companies offer a Chinese-language web portal, as well as a video hosting agreement that makes Coursera's video lectures more accessible to users in China.

Coursera said NetEase would store video files from selected courses on locally hosted servers, significantly improving video quality for Chinese users.

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