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Katherine Smith (University media unit)Tel: 03 8344 7263 / 0402 460 147
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Lisa Zilberpriver
p (MGSE communications)
Tel: 03 8344 3357 / 0435 960 030 

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‘The more the merrier’ is not a phrase often associated with class size, but the increasing popularity of online learning may change that.

The University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education (MGSE) has launched a Massive Open Online Course – or MOOC – on how to give school children the skills to survive in a world of ever-changing technology.

More than 15,000 people have enrolled in the course, titled Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills. They are among 500,000 who have enrolled in the university’s MOOCs since it joined international platform Coursera in 2012.

Course coordinator Professor Patrick Griffin said the scale was unimaginable for face-to-face teaching.

The course has attracted students from 160 different countries, about 50 of which are in Asia. The cohort is highly educated; nine per cent have doctorates, 38 percent hold higher degrees, and a further 38 per cent have completed undergraduate degrees.  

Like all MOOCs, Teaching and Assessment of 21st Century Skills is offered free of charge and enrolment is open to anyone.

While students get the chance to learn from world-leading researchers, the researchers themselves are enthusiastic about the opportunity to share and collaborate with thousands of people.

“In such a new field, harnessing the insights of such a large group is very exciting,” Professor Griffin said.  

“MOOCs challenge everyone involved – participants and staff – to use and improve their skills in digital learning – which is in itself a 21st century skill.”

Organisers say they have learnt a lot from running this MOOC and are investigating the prospects of delivery in different languages.

“The MGSE is a world leader in delivering innovative, cutting-edge education programs, and the area of 21st century skills is one of these,” Professor Griffin said.  

“MOOCs offer a great opportunity to showcase such programs, and disseminate our work at scale.”

MOOCs at Melbourne: http://le.unimelb.edu....