Coursera: Social Media Comes to Online Education

Penn Engineering, together with other Schools at the University, has embarked on a new educational project, Coursera, an online social media educational venture. Founded by faculty members at Stanford University, Coursera plans to harness the power of technology to offer classes, taught by the world's best faculty, to the public for free.

One of Penn's first Coursera professors will be Michael Kearns, professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science and the National Center Chair in Resource Management and Technology. Kearns is the Founding Director of Penn's new Market and Social Systems Engineering Program. His course, "Networked Life," will explore recent scientific efforts to explain social, economic and technological structures and the ways in which these structures interact, on many different scales, from the behavior of individuals or small groups to that of complex networks such as the Internet and the global economy.

Robert Ghrist, the Andrea Mitchell University Professor in the Departments of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Mathematics, will also be offering "Single Variable Calculus" on Coursera.  Ghrist has won a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and was named by Scientific American as one of this year's top 50 scientific innovators. His research applies mathematical methods to real-world engineering challenges, especially in robotics and wireless sensor networks.

To date, 700,000 students from 190 countries have participated in classes on Coursera, with more than 1.6 million course enrollments total.

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