Brandeis to offer Semester Online courses in 2014

Small, online, for-credit courses will be available to students worldwide

An image of what the online classroom will look like.

Brandeis University announced today that two courses will be offered through Semester Online for Spring Semester 2014. In a partnership between 2U, Inc. and a group of top-tier colleges and universities, Semester Online offers rigorous, small, online, for-credit courses in real time to college students from anywhere in the world. 

Brandeis will offer “Psychological and Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Health,” taught by Ellen J. Wright, an assistant professor of psychology who earned her PhD at the University of Iowa. The course surveys topics in psychology, sociology and anthropology and analyzes the relevance of these three disciplines for the mental and physical health of individuals and societies.

It has the dual aim of offering pre-health and pre-clinical psychology students a combination of topical knowledge and analytic competencies required for broad, liberal arts problem-solving, modern medical school and clinical psychology curricula and entrance exams.

Marc Brettler, Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies, will offer “The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: Then and Now.” This course explores the meaning of the Hebrew Bible /Old Testament in its original ancient Near Eastern context, and how this compares to the uses made of the Bible now. No knowledge of Hebrew is presumed.

“We are excited to launch these courses in the spring and receive feedback from our professors about the experience of teaching through Semester Online,” said Brandeis Provost Steve Goldstein. “In addition, we will be following up with students who decide to take courses from consortium partners to learn from their experience.”

Applications for enrollment in these courses will be available in September. Brandeis students will have the option to take any Semester Online course beginning in the spring.

Through a state-of-the-art virtual classroom, students will participate in discussions and exercises, attend lectures and collaborate with peers while guided by renowned professors, engaging in as close to the on-campus class experience as is currently possible online. Courses will be of the same quality as on-campus counterparts, and students will receive an official transcript from the institution offering the class.

“These courses, and our agreement with Semester Online, are just one way in which Brandeis is exploring and assessing best practices in the rapidly evolving area of online education,” said Goldstein.

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