July 18, 2012
CLF Food Systems Course Selected for Coursera Online Venture
A course led by CLF’s Director Robert S. Lawrence, MD, is among the first of eight courses to be featured from Johns Hopkins in a new partnership with the free online education venture Coursera.
“An Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health,” co-instructed by Dr. Lawrence and Keeve Nachman, PhD, director of CLF’s Farming for the Future Program, explores how food intersects with public health and the environment as it moves from field to plate. It is based on a four-credit online course currently offered to graduate students at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. The free six-week course will be available online in January 2013.
The Johns Hopkins University announced July 17 that it had joined Coursera, an education venture developed by two Stanford faculty members to offer high-quality college-level university courses online for free, creating new opportunities for learning worldwide.
Johns Hopkins is one 17 top-tier institutions that have signed agreements with Coursera to make some of their Web-based courses available to a wider student audience without charging tuition.
The universities are offering undergraduate and graduate courses taught by their professors in the arts, computer sciences, mathematics, medicine, literature, history and a host of other disciplines. The courses can include online lectures, readings, discussion groups, assignments and exams.
The first Johns Hopkins courses offered through Coursera will come from its Bloomberg School of Public Health.
In the first 24 hours after the initial announcement was made, over 10,000 students had already registered for Coursera courses offered by JHU.
"Providing public health content for Coursera is a great opportunity for us and will augment our existing online learning and Open Course Ware initiatives," said Michael J. Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School. "Sharing our knowledge and research with the world is an essential part of our mission of improving health and saving lives.”
Coursera was founded last fall by Stanford University professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, who wanted to find a way to use technology to bring higher education to more people.
The other institutions that are offering or will offer online classes through Coursera are the University of California, Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rice University, University of California San Francisco, the University of Washington, University of Virginia, the University of Edinburg, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Sausanne and the University of Toronto.
Coursera is funded by two universities – Caltech and Penn – as well as several private investors. Over the next few months, new courses will continue to be added to the online platform, from current university partners and from other top-tier educational institutions
To date, more than 680,000 students from 190 countries have enrolled in Coursera courses, according to the company.