The University of Western Australia has created history by becoming the first Australian institution to use a third-party online course in place of lectures. The WA institution has replaced lectures in one of its subjects with a MOOC from Stanford University in California.
The move to use a third-party online course in place of its own lectures comes at a time where plenty of educators expect the format to soon become a common phenomenon as universities are trying to lower their operating costs while still trying to maintain a high level of excellence and quality.
UWA will offer the second-year subject, Introduction to Databases, in a “flipped classroom” format, with students learning interactively online with content being created by Stanford professor Jennifer Widom. After learning the material online in the flipped format, students will have the benefit of attending face to face tutorials and laboratory sessions to gain a deeper understanding through interaction with instructors and other students.
David Glance, director of UWA’s Centre for Software Practice who is heading the course has said that,“when they turn up to a tutorial there will be a better quality of engagement. Technically, the local lecturer is able to modify the online content.”