University of Kentucky Targets High School Students With Online Chemistry Classes

An online education provider is expanding its partnerships with more universities and schools around the U.S., including the University of Kentucky. 

Coursera is known for offering what’s being called Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. It has previously only partnered with a handful of established universities and schools. The courses are often accessible to anyone around the world for free, but only until recently were some courses allowed to be offered for college credit.

Coursera is now piloting smaller projects in nine different states, which will use its technology in different ways. The State University of New York (SUNY) system plans to use Coursera to help enroll 100,000 more students over the next several years at its 64 campuses, as reported by Inside Higher Ed.

Vince Kellen, UK’s senior vice provost for academic planning, technologies and analytics, says the university will initially focus on chemistry courses and says the target audience will be high school students interesting in attending UK.

“We looked at courses that students typically have difficulty with and there are about five or six subject areas in courses that when students come in, a fair amount of students fail the class,” he says.

The cost to develop the two chemistry courses will be around $60,000, Kellen says. There will be an intermediate course and an advanced course that is meant to help students prepare to take the AP exam where they could earn college credit.

Kellen says if Coursera is successful, UK may expand its services within the university. The cost to expand and develop another course would be $3,000 per course and then a per student fee of $25 that would decrease as more students signed up.

There is also the opportunity for UK to use courses developed in other schools, which would also include a similar per student cost structure.

Over the next several months, two chemistry courses will be developed and Kellen expects they’ll be available next spring.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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