Carnegie Mellon Takes Online Courses to Another Level with Its Open Learning Initiative

Open online courses—massive or otherwise—are revolutionizing higher education by making learning more and more accessible.

Carnegie Mellon University has taken online courses to another level, offering virtual classroom environments based on deep research into how adults learn.

The courses are free. Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative currently offers 15 courses through a platform that provides targeted progress feedback to students.

The program doesn’t offer course credit or certificates but the courses are sophisticated. CMU spent anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million for each course to write the software, which includes a course builder program for instructors and a system of feedback loops that send student learning data to the instructor, the student and the course design team.

More than 10,000 students enrolled in OLI courses last year. So far CMU promotes OLI courses as supplementary to traditional classroom instruction. But the courses are certainly rich enough to be enjoyed by anyone. They’re mostly in the sciences but include a few language and social science classes too.

The list of currently-available courses appears below. We also have them listed in our complete list of Massive Open Online Courses from Great Universities (many of which happen to offer certificates too):

Kate Rix writes about digital media and education. Read more of her work on thenifty.blogspot.com and katerixwriter.com.



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  1. Sarpreet says . . . | November 20, 2012 / 4:26 am

    Learning through online courses is an effective approach. It enables students to access the huge online updated course material available on the internet, scheduled classes help to focus on the courseware and save a lot of time naturally. Any student can easily access in live audio-video classes of world’s best faculty member from anywhere in the world also through social networks students can easily discuss any topic with their faculty and peers. Moreover students can review recorded classroom sessions for better idea. Currently I am using http://www.WizIQ.com and it provides all the above features. You can also go to http://www.wiziq.com/courses to see all the online available courses.

  2. Trident says . . . | December 23, 2012 / 10:17 am

    Carnegie’s online program will make education and knowledge a lot more accessible to a larger number of students, which is very encouraging.

  3. Math Intervention Software says . . . | September 11, 2013 / 12:32 am

    I like the Logic and proofs course more than other. Can you please tell me about its time duration and fee structure briefly so i can opt this one.

  4. alfred says . . . | January 9, 2014 / 10:08 pm

    Online learning is new-age learning! The approach is highly effective, simple and tremendously beneficial. Both teachers and learners are greatly profiting from it! I am currently using ProProfs where you can create quizzes, courses, surveys, flashcards and more. Sharing can be done in minutes too. Take a look at the website – http://www.proprofs.com. You will like it too!

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