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Curtin University
Transforming Learning at Curtin

Curtin’s ‘new education’ includes free courses delivered at global scale

12 March 2014

Curtin University continues targeted investments in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as part of its Learning for Tomorrow strategy, which will export its teaching excellence to the world and tap into the multi-billion-dollar global education market.

Curtin is progressing its MOOC strategy, launching two new offerings in March and with plans underway for a Digital Marketing MOOC that can provide financial benefit for learners who go on to further study at Curtin.

“Through our Learning for Tomorrow strategy we are reconfiguring our approach to education at Curtin,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education Professor Jill Downie said.

“This involves leveraging emerging technologies to connect with learners in meaningful ways and exploring new learning models for a globalised marketplace.

“In the last 12 months we have executed a strategy to explore different MOOC platforms and partnerships, and to develop expertise with MOOCs.

“MOOCs have the potential for the kind of global scale and reach that will help us engage our vision for new markets, and there are opportunities to leverage MOOC-principles to scale delivery of more conventional units.”

Curtin offered its first MOOC in July 2013. The free, four-week course called Discovering the Universe through Science and Technology was offered through the Open2Study platform and saw more than 6,000 students enrol and impressive completion rates of more than 30 percent.

Curtin’s second MOOC was launched in September 2013 with another due to go live on 17 March 2014.

The five-week Australia China Trade MOOC gives learners economic insights into the Australia-China trade relationship. Launched in English, it will now also be offered in Chinese.

Participating in the Digital Age is a six-week course that explores the role of the digital world in our daily lives and how we can participate. This MOOC will be delivered from CurtinCommons.com, a platform developed in collaboration with Canada’s Athabasca University.

Curtin has plans for a MOOC in Digital Marketing and hopes to offer learners who successfully complete the MOOC and enrol in Curtin’s flagship Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing with financial credit for a unit of their studies.

The global higher education arena is becoming increasingly competitive due to globalisation and the rapid development of new and more reliable technologies. Curtin is responding to these challenges by developing products, technology-supported learning and new business models to engage learners worldwide.

“The ‘new education’ at Curtin offers a variety of learning modes, of which MOOCs are one,” Professor Downie said.

“Curtin offers face-to-face and online teaching, actively engages students through flipped-classes, technology enriched environments and distributed learning techniques and telepresence technology using high-end video and 3-d virtual world scenarios.

“This model builds on the global focus already achieved through more than 50 online courses, as well as our established campuses in Singapore and Malaysia, and our Australian campuses in Sydney, Kalgoorlie and Margaret River.

“The fact is education globally, like many industries, is facing dramatic change. Emerging technologies are overwhelming traditional models of education, redefining long held concepts of knowledge and Universities worldwide are grappling with the potential impacts.”