The University of Western Australia will offer free online courses in arts and science early next year as part of a collaboration with US Internet study pioneer Stanford University.
Stanford - ranked No. 2 in the 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities - has developed its own ground-breaking Class2Go software to host free public courses and online content.
The open-source software is free for public use, and UWA’s Centre for Software Practice will join Stanford University to develop mobile versions of Class2Go for smartphones and tablets.
The Director of UWA’s Centre for Software Practice, Associate Professor David Glance, said Stanford University had led the way in delivering online courses.
“Its decision to open-source Class2Go means anyone can now host their own,” he said.
Stanford University hosts eight online courses on the Class2Go platform for its own students, and from Monday will offer free public courses in Computer Networking and Solar Cells, Fuel Cells and Batteries.
UWA Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bill Louden said it made “absolute sense” for UWA to work with Stanford University to launch online and open courses in WA.
“The ability to offer free online education to the world is as important as making course content available to our own students,” he said.
“While face-to-face learning and networking among students, teachers and researchers is a key ingredient of UWA’s success, new online courses will enable anyone with Internet access to learn with the best institutions.
“We will continue to develop the quality of the total UWA experience to ensure our courses remain sought-after and relevant to students across all platforms.”
People participating in UWA’s free online courses will receive certificates of completion.