Tech’s partnership with Coursera: Institute takes steps toward Strategic Plan goals

The Office of the Provost recently announced Tech’s partnership with the online educator, Coursera. This new approach to education is becoming popular among international universities and colleges, and Tech has officially announced its interest and investment in the program.
This decision for the Institute is a courageous and necessary step for Tech’s reputation. Tech’s decision to invest with Coursera provides ample opportunity to market the Georgia Tech brand by creating name and quality awareness. Following Strategic Plan goals to be a world-class university, Tech joins other prestigious universities in this project, including Stanford, CalTech and UPenn. Joining Coursera and sharing free Tech courses will not only help Tech improve its technology focus on education, but will also increase Tech’s international and national visibility as a top-tier institution.
While free online courses may not directly benefit current students at Tech, they provide the opportunity to learn for the sake of learning. Tech students are not required to take these courses, but the project promotes the ideal that sharing knowledge is powerful and can broaden horizons. This type of enrichment learning will expose information and ideas that will reach a large audience in the global intellectual community.
This partnership between Tech and Coursera is a positive initial step to promoting a Tech education, but other similar initiatives are necessary to be considered a leading educational institution in the U.S. and world. One way of fostering an intellectual community is for Tech to create an iTunesU account where Tech-hosted lectures can be posted in iTunes and broadcasted through podcast, exposing Tech’s interest in intellectual discussion. Tech should also begin investing more in innovation at the undergraduate level, forming incubator programs for launching start-ups. The Institute should also better utilize the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) as a platform for pushing the initiatives of the Strategic Plan.