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 and .

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Comments (4)
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  • Sarpreet says:

    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 and it pro­vides all the above fea­tures. You can also go to to see all the online avail­able cours­es.

  • Trident says:

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

  • 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.

  • alfred says:

    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 — You will like it too!

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