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Sunday, 2 August 2015

ASU launches first free online course through edX

Arizona State University’s first completely free open online course launched Monday.
 
"Media Literacy: Overcoming Information Overload" is the first ASU course offered through the nonprofit online educator edX as a Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC.
One of the course’s instructors, ASU Prof. Dan Gillmor, said his goal in teaching the class was to help people become more involved in media and develop critical thinking skills.
“MOOCs are still an experiment in education, but an especially intriguing one from my perspective,” said Gillmor. “We and others offering these courses have the opportunity to bring what we know to many more people, and if we do it well it gives others a way to expand their horizons.” 

The class lasts seven weeks and is completely free to participate in. For $25, attendees can receive a verified certificate of completion.
 
The mass communications class is part of ASU’s initiative with edX to create a global classroom. It is not part of its Global Freshman Academy, where ASU offers college credit, but is sponsored by ASUx and taught by ASU professors Kristy Roschke and Dan Gillmor.
 
EdX, founded in 2012 between MIT and Harvard University, aims to make education more accessible by offering educational courses for free. The organization is nonprofit and is run on an open-source software platform.
 
Unlike other ASU online courses, MOOCs do not require transcripts or applications.
“This new course makes world-class journalism and communications instruction more accessible to people around the world," said ASU Vice Provost Christopher Callahan said in a statement.
The course includes teachings from guest speakers like Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, craigslist’s founder Craig Newmark and Buzzfeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith.
 
“We are just starting to understand what MOOCs mean for traditional education," said faculty associate Kristy Roschke, who also is instructing the class. "But I think one of the key benefits to the platform is that it enables high-quality education on a global scale.”

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