University of Toronto to offer free courses

But "MOOCs" come with no official credits

The University of Toronto will be offering some of its courses free online this year. This may signal diminishing resistance of Canadian universities to the growing movement in the US for free online university education.

U of T will offer five free classes in the coming year in partnership with US company Coursera, a company based in California. It will be the only Canadian university working with the company, which has attracted 700,000 students. Such courses are called massive open online courses (MOOCs).

The Star quotes Cheryl Misak, U of T’s provost, as saying “It’s a great service to the world and it’s great for the University of Toronto. This is the most open of all courses—anyone sitting in any country around the world with access to a computer can take the course.” The courses are not for official credit.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology pioneered the free delivery of university courses through MITx. Canadian universities have not yet shown the same level of enthusiasm.