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Halmstad University's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) has recently taken off. Providing free and open internet-based courses is a way to provide education irrespective of where you are, and at the same time promoting Halmstad University all over the world.
The so-called MOOC that Halmstad University provides is called System Validation and started on September 12th with more than 150 registered students. Even now it is still not too late to sign up. The course involves theory, techniques, and tools for the development of reliable computer systems. The aim is to know how to specify the behaviour of embedded systems as well as gaining experience in analysing them.
But why offer a MOOC? Professor Mohammad Mousavi, who initiated and is co-responsible for the course, says that it is about contributing to society in general as well as broadening their scope in the field and to groups of people who are otherwise difficult to reach.
– Examples include people living in remote or developing regions of the world with limited access to higher education and research facilities; as well as people with severe disabilities, says Mohammad Mousavi.
Prerequisites required for the course are basic mathematical logic and the so-called discrete mathematics; apart from this, anyone can register for the course.
– Halmstad University benefits greatly from the course, as its reputation extends across borders. We can only educate a certain number of students each year in Halmstad, but already in this first course of MOOC, I have more students than what I normally have for a whole year - and they come from all over the world, says Mohammad Mousavi.
A MOOC can contribute with expertise in areas that you would otherwise miss or need to update, regardless of whether you are a student or an employee. However, the main target group for System Validation is students at undergraduate level, mater´s level, as well as researchers in academia and industry.
– For existing students, the course is useful if you want to build upon your knowledge in a particular area, e.g. someone who wants to design an embedded system and who does not otherwise have access to such a course in design and verification methods. Furthermore, you can also imagine a student writing a thesis related to a particular theme, but lacking knowledge in certain areas.
Teaching is conducted through video-recorded lessons and interactive exercises that participants can solve together or in a group, and then give each other feedback. A text book is recommended for the course although it is not a requirement to pass the course. However, to be able to follow the course, it is expected that participants must be expected to put aside two to four hours a week for study, as well as regularly answering a set of questions.
Text: KRISTINA RÖRSTRÖM
Photos:: BAS VAN VLIJMEN, LOUISE WANDEL
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and are free online university courses – although payment for diplomas or a complete programme based on MOOC might be required. The concept gained attention in 2011 when 160,000 students from 190 countries registered for an MOOC on artificial intelligence at Stanford University. MOOC courses have since been started by a number of reputable universities around the world, and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are studying today thanks to an MOOC.
Halmstad University´s MOOC
System Validation is taught via the learning platform Canvas Network, canvas.net, and the course is approximately six weeks long. Registration is still open. The course, which is offered in collaboration with the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL), has no formal exam and participants will not be awarded any higher education credits.