Wits University has announced that it has developed a suite of online course offerings that will be made available over the next three years to enhance access to higher education.
These include massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the edX platform, short online courses, and ultimately entirely online degree programmes.
In the first phase, Wits has become the first university in Africa to offer MOOCs on edX, an online learning platform established by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012.
Says Professor Andrew Crouch, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic at Wits University: “There is no doubt that there is a dire need for more places at South African universities and for access to quality post-school training. Wits is proud to be the first African university on the edX platform, where we offer free online courses unique to South Africa.”
Launched today, the first three MOOCs on the edX platform, WitsX, will be available within the next six months:
· System Dynamics for Health Sciences (launches 3 August 2016)
· Research Methods: An Engineering Approach (launches 7 September 2016)
· Results-Based Project Management: Monitoring and Evaluation (launches 5 October 2016)
“Developing these three edX MOOCs has been an exciting collaboration between eLearning staff in the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development (CLTD) and teams of academics. We envisage that the capacity and systems we have developed will inform and strengthen future institutional online course development and other blended learning initiatives,” says Associate Professor Christine Woods, Wits CLTD Director and Head of WitsX.
MOOCs offered by WitsX are free although a certificate of completion can be purchased for approximately $49 (approximately R720.00 at the current exchange rate).
Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University, says: “This is a pioneering, innovative project that is unlocking new opportunities for South African universities. We will continue to develop course content to enable students from around the world to access our international expertise in fields ranging from the palaeosciences to infectious diseases and deep-level mining.”