Media Releases

University of Toronto awarded funding to deliver massive open online courses

December 4, 2012

TORONTO, ON – The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to has been award­ed a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion to devel­op two online learn­ing cours­es that will be deliv­ered by award-win­ning U of T pro­fes­sors.

The two cours­es – the lat­est in U of T’s involve­ment in Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es (MOOC) pro­grams – are intend­ed to “engage a broad range of stu­dents in suc­cess­ful­ly advanc­ing their gen­er­al and devel­op­men­tal edu­ca­tion,” said the Foun­da­tion in announc­ing the award ear­li­er this month.

“We are extreme­ly pleased that such excel­lent fac­ul­ty mem­bers are gar­ner­ing Gates Foun­da­tion grants for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to,” said Cheryl Mis­ak, U of T vice-pres­i­dent and provost. “They are help­ing to keep us ahead of the curve in this poten­tial­ly impor­tant are­na.”

The first course, Intro­duc­tion to Psy­chol­o­gy, will be taught by Steve Joor­dens, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­o­gy at U of T Scar­bor­ough. Joor­dens is a pop­u­lar lec­tur­er at the Uni­ver­si­ty and a win­ner of the 2011–2012 Teach­ing Award from the Ontario Con­fed­er­a­tion of Uni­ver­si­ty Fac­ul­ty Asso­ci­a­tions.

The sec­ond course, Sta­tis­ti­cal Sci­ence, will be deliv­ered by Jef­frey Rosen­thal and Ali­son Gibbs, both in the Depart­ment of Sta­tis­tics in the Fac­ul­ty of Arts and Sci­ence.

Rosen­thal has won numer­ous awards for his research and teach­ing and is the author of a best-sell­ing book, Struck by Light­ning: The Curi­ous World of Prob­a­bil­i­ties.

Gibbs is cred­it­ed with cre­at­ing inno­v­a­tive pro­grams and cours­es that pro­mote col­lab­o­ra­tion between sta­tis­tics stu­dents and those in oth­er dis­ci­plines. She excels at out­reach, hav­ing for many years chaired the Sta­tis­ti­cal Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee for the Sta­tis­ti­cal Soci­ety of Cana­da (SSC), devel­op­ing con­nec­tions between the soci­ety and stu­dents and teach­ers.

Stu­dents will be able to reg­is­ter for the cours­es soon and lec­tures will begin in the spring of 2013.

“We are excit­ed to expand our offer­ings of open, online cours­es,” said Cheryl Regehr, vice-provost, aca­d­e­m­ic pro­grams.  “Thanks to this gen­er­ous grant, we have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring even more of our award win­ning fac­ul­ty to the world.”

These two U of T cours­es are part of those deliv­ered by the Uni­ver­si­ty through Cours­era, a con­sor­tium of 33 top-ranked inter­na­tion­al uni­ver­si­ties that was estab­lished ear­li­er this year to pro­vide open online cours­es. To date, almost two mil­lion stu­dents world­wide have reg­is­tered to take Cours­era cours­es.


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