Free university biology course open to all at AdelaideX

Monday, 19 January 2015

Essential Human Biology will be the University of Adelaide’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), under the banner AdelaideX, offering anyone from around the world the opportunity to study with some of Australia’s leading academics.

"People can enrol in our free five-week human biology course now and start studying at
the University from next month,” said Professor Pascale Quester, University of Adelaide Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic). “It’s wonderful to share our unique learning experience with the wider community and take our campus classroom to a global audience.”

In 2014, the University of Adelaide joined edX, established by MIT and Harvard University, which offers open university courses at no cost to the student. 

“Our first course, human biology, will appeal to a wide range of students from those who are keen to improve their understanding for work and career reasons to those who want to learn purely for personal reward or curiosity. 

“This fundamental principle of inclusion is what makes MOOCs so attractive to so many different people,” said Professor Quester. “It also opens doors to further learning opportunities.”

The University of Adelaide’s Essential Human Biology course will cover the relationships between normal structure and function in human cells and tissues, in health and disease, using a variety of teaching methods - short videos, animations, interactive activities and integrated quizzes - to guide students through key concepts, and make learning both relevant and engaging. No formal prerequisites are required.
“Students will gain a greater understating of basic human anatomy and physiology and be taught by our award-winning lecturers from the Faculty of Health Sciences,” said Professor Quester.  

“Enrolments in the first course have already come from right across the world and represent enormous diversity of background, age and culture,” she said.  “What they all share is a hunger to learn - and that’s exactly what we are most interested in nurturing”.

“The launch of AdelaideX is part of our grand vision to transform the University of Adelaide’s learning experience,” said Professor Quester.  “Exploring new and innovative ways of delivering education benefits those undertaking a MOOC as well as current students who can devote more time to face-to-face learning while accessing valuable content online.”

Employment, Higher Education and Skills Minister, Gail Gago MLC welcomed the new initiative.

“Attracting a diverse student body is critical to South Australia’s long term economic prosperity,” said Ms Gago.  “AdelaideX takes the best of the State’s university education to the world and creates a new window to the kind of high-quality learning experience offered by the University of Adelaide.  I hope it will entice even more international students to South Australia in the coming years.”

Enrolments for Essential Human Biology are open now with the course commencing on 17
February 2015.  Other courses scheduled for release in the next 6 months include wine tasting, computer programming, cyber warfare and lost languages, reflecting the great diversity of expertise and disciplines at the University of Adelaide.

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