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Free Online Courses at Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is one of a number of top universities offering free online courses through a program called Open Learning Initiative (OLI). OLI’s initiative is to provide quality education fueled by continual feedback and research to improve the learning process, which ultimately benefits students, educators, and academic institutions. Founded in 2002, the Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative has integrated its expertise in cognitive tutoring, an intelligent tutoring system, into its first four online courses: Statistics, Logic and Proofs, Casual and Statistical Reasoning, and Economics.

Courses are provided using a web-based instruction method collecting data on student activities that instructors can monitor. The collected data provides a quantitative analysis of learning results for course designers and learning science researchers to review and improve upon. In essence, this process helps the university test specific learning theories. In addition to cognitive tutors, other online instructional components include group experiments, virtual laboratories, and simulations. Courses include self-assessments and graded assessments (checkpoints and quizzes). There is also a Learn by Doing feature designed for students to better understand new concepts. The Learn by Doing activities include multiple choice, interactive simulations, and matching activities, to name a few. An example of an Osmosis Learning by Doing exercise in the Modern Biology course is provided in the OLI website referenced below.

In additional to the courses already mentioned, other open and free courses offered by Carnegie Mellon University (OLI) program are as follows:

• American English Speech
• Anatomy and Physiology
• Argument Diagramming
• Biochemistry
• Chemistry
• Elementary French I
• Elementary French II
• Engineering Statics
• Introduction to Biology
• Introduction to Chemistry
• Introduction to Psychology
• Media Programming
• Modern Biology
• Principles of Computing
• Probability of Statistics
• Responsible Computing
• Statistical Reasoning
• Stem Readiness

Carnegie Mellon University’s OLI not only provides opportunities for students and educators, opportunities also abound for dedicated, forward-thinking individual collaborators, partner organizations, and strategic fundraisers to become involved and help the initiative grow and improve.

To learn more about Carnegie Mellon University (OLI) free courses, visit

Open Learning Initiative (OLI) at http://oli.cmu.edu/

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+Patricia Pedraza-Nafziger

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