At Illinois, we continue to lead and explore innovations in higher education that build on our proven strengths in online teaching and learning. Technology has expanded access to higher education delivery and availability. As technology improves and access to high-speed connections become ever more widespread, through massive open online courses (MOOCs) we have an opportunity to bring content to eager minds across the globe. In fact, more than 6 million students have enrolled in MOOC courses.


Our campus has partnered with Coursera to deliver content through its MOOC platform. Illinois is poised for further innovation in online teaching and learning. Our collaboration with Coursera provides an opportunity to partner with other leading universities in accomplishing this goal. 

Why MOOCs?

As a land-grant research university, Illinois’ primary interest in MOOCs is as a form of extension and outreach: serving nontraditional learners with specific professional needs and/or field-based knowledge and skill requirements. There are many constituencies, and purposes, that MOOCs can serve. These may include mature learners with specific professional objectives, independently motivated learners of any age pursuing academic interests in a self-guided manner, and learners who cannot afford traditional campus-based programs.

As a knowledge enterprise, one of the chief benefits to us of developing MOOCs is the ability to study this platform. MOOCs generate significant learner data, and we have the tools on this campus for sophisticated analyses that will teach us not only about the effectiveness of MOOCs, but also about learning processes and what types of opportunities work for different kinds of students.