• Switzerland's news in English

EPFL offers free online education with Coursera

Malcolm Curtis · 23 Jul 2012, 11:13

Published: 23 Jul 2012 11:13 GMT+02:00

EPFL is among 12 leading universities in Europe and the US to join Coursera, an internet platform created by two Stanford University academics.

Coursera offers free online access to courses offered by professors from 16 elite universities, such as Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley.

The courses do not provide credits toward degrees at the participating schools but instructors offer signed certificates to students who complete the studies.

A total of 111 courses are currently offered by Coursera in disciplines that range from computer science to humanities and social sciences.

“This is the future, and we must be part of it,” Martin Vetterli, dean of EPFL’s School of Computer and Communications Sciences, said in a statement issued on the institute’s website.

The “massive open online courses” or MOOCs are unique in that they can be taken by anyone in the world with no limit to the number of students enrolled.

EPFL is climbing onto the Coursera bandwagon with other institutions such as the University of Edinburgh, Duke, Johns Hopkins and the University of Toronto.

The Lausanne school is offering three computer science courses, including the first one to be offered on Coursera in French.

Professor Martin Odersky has designed a seven-week course for computer programming in the Scala language that begins on September 18th.

Students for this particular course are required to have previous knowledge of computer programming.

But other courses, such as one offered in French in introductory computer programming can be taken by beginners.

The name of the instructor and the date for the start of that eight-week course have yet to be announced.

The other EPFL computer science course, on “digital signal processing” starts in February next year.

“I have a feeling that (these kind of courses) will be a kind of tsunami in the academic world,” Vetterli said.

“We don’t know what the consequences will be yet, but it was important for us to participate from the beginning, rather than risk missing the boat!”

It is not clear how Coursera operates financially since its business model is a guarded secret.

But while courses are offered for free, students enrolled are required to pay for certificates granted upon successful completion of studies, with revenue shared to participating universities.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
WHO calls for action against air pollution
File photo: Issouf Sarego/AFP

Nine out of 10 people globally are breathing poor quality air, the World Health Organization has said.

Two arrested in police raid on Basel mosque
File photo: Michele Limini/AFP

Police in Basel raided a controversial mosque in the city and arrested two people on Tuesday morning, Swiss media reported.

Families slapped with hefty rise in health costs
File photo: Marcel Grieder

Health insurance premiums will rise by on average 4.5 percent for adults and 6.6 percent for children in 2017.

Neuchâtel votes no to foreigners running for office
Photo: kuhnmi/Flickr

Neuchâtel voted on Sunday against an initiative that would have made it the first Swiss canton to allow foreigners stand in cantonal elections.

Swiss voters say no to higher pensions
Photo: AFP

Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a plan to increase pension payments by ten percent.

Italians enraged by Ticino foreign worker vote
File picture of Lega Nord leader Roberto Maroni. Photo: AFP

The leader of Italy's Lega Nord is plotting "adequate counter-measures".

EU warns Swiss over vote to curb cross-border workers
Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann (R) and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker met in Zurich on September 19th to talk about the implementation of Swiss immigration restrictions. Photo: AFP

The EU warned Switzerland on Monday over a vote by one of its cantons backing curbs on migrants, an issue being closely watched in London as a possible template for Brexit negotiations.

Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Twelve thousand women participated in a race against breast cancer in Le Mans, France, October 2014. Photo: AFP

The study suggests a link between aluminium salts and breast cancer.

Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Airolo in the Gotthard Pass. Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl

Voters in Ticino on Sunday strongly backed an initiative giving preference to local workers over foreigners.

France demands 45,000 Swiss accounts in tax hunt
Photo: AFP

France is tracking down UBS account holders.

Sponsored Article
7 tips for learning Swiss French
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
Photo: AFP
Swiss ‘slave children’ to finally get compensation
Photo: Jan Geerk/Swiss-image.ch
Zurich named ‘greenest’ city on the planet
Photo: Swiss
Brawl over seats forces Swiss to abort flight
Photo: Daniel Stockhammer
Research shows typical Swiss chalets ‘not actually Swiss’
Photo: AFP
Switzerland to get nationwide disaster alert system
Photo: S3
Swiss space firm boss left badly injured in violent attack
Photo: ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich crowned best uni in continental Europe – again
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Report: Swiss citizenship rules leave some stateless
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Fatal crash: pilot told to fly below safe altitude
Photo: Peter Linke
Business & Money
Elderly Italian on benefits stashed €1m in Swiss bank
Photo: Stuart Richards
Court sides with chickens in dispute over noisy henhouse
Photo: SAC
Hiking: 7 incredible Swiss Alpine Club cabins
Photo: David Abercrombie
Swiss politician arrested over illegal entry of migrants
Photo: Coiffure X
Chewbacca stolen in ‘terrorist attack’ on Swiss hair salon
Photo: AFP
Foreigners in Switzerland surpass 2 million mark
Photo: AFP
Expert predicts major quake for Switzerland by 2040
Photo: The Local
Geneva runs out of permits for non-EU workers
Photo:C Carlstead
Geneva advises teachers on religion in school
jobs available