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Deakin University to Offer Postgraduate Degrees via MOOC

Australia's Deakin University is gearing up to offer six full postgraduate degrees through FutureLearn, a massive open online course platform launched in 2012 by The Open University. The degrees in Cyber Security, Information Technology, Financial Planning, Humanitarian and Development Action, Property, and Diabetes Education will be available early next year.

Students begin by enrolling in a free, two-week "taster" course before moving on to the fee-based MOOC degree programs. Each degree program consists of several sets of FutureLearn courses on particular subjects, offered at a cost of roughly $2,000 U.S. per subject set. Students complete their degrees by taking two or more subjects at a time, while doing additional self-directed study and completing assessments.

To help motivate learners to complete their programs, students are organized into groups that start each course around the same time and are encouraged to complete it at the same pace. Courses include group activities and discussions as well as learning tools such as peer review.

"We are very pleased to be able to give students the opportunity to start to learn for free and pay-as-they-go before committing to the full degree. Our aim is to allow our learners to study a full degree flexibly, whenever they like, wherever they are, fitting the courses around the rest of their lives," said FutureLearn CEO Simon Nelson in a prepared statement. "Learning with a global cohort of students who are actively contributing and engaged through our approach to social learning will deliver a rich experience for learners that we think will add a new dimension to this type of post graduate study."

Deakin was one of the first Australian universities to offer large-scale online learning, according to Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander. "Now more than ever it is incumbent on universities to provide broadening, global experiences for their students," said den Hollander. "In a troubled world where borders seem to be closing, we need more learners engaging with peers around the world. Deakin believes this can be achieved effectively through digital education at scale. These degrees are only the start, we are already exploring options for credit sharing with other FutureLearn partners around the world to further enrich the experience for our learners."

Several of the taster courses are available now, including: Disaster Management: Introduction To Humanitarian Aid and Cyber Security For Small And Medium Enterprises: Identifying Threats And Preventing Attacks

For more information, visit the FutureLearn site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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