What Else is Going on at Penn? Something You Should Know About…

Author: Molly Rand, GEd’13

As a follow up to my wonderful colleague Lillian’s blog post last week on “What’s Going on at Penn…and Why Do I Never Know About It?!” I thought I would share an update about another interesting Penn event that those in the community might like to know about…and the best part of the news – it hasn’t happened yet!

On Friday, April 5, Penn President Amy Gutmann and other experts will explore online learning and what it may have in store for higher education at the Silfen University Forum.

The forum will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Penn’s Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce St.

Dr. Gutmann will moderate the Forum, which includes Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner; the Honorable Martha J. Kanter, U.S. Under Secretary of Education; William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland; and Daphne Koller, Stanford University professor and co-founder of the online learning platform Coursera, which has enrolled almost 2.8 million students and is adding about 70,000 new students weekly from around the world.

Web-based teaching and learning are pioneering a new model for higher education, with the capacity to give millions more people access to a top-level educational experience.

“The global economy needs an ever more highly educated work force of talented people,” Gutmann said. “And one avenue to that goal may be through massive online learning, a system in which Penn has been an early leader.  MOOCs also hold great promise for helping our faculty further improve our traditional classroom learning experience.  For example, students could learn basic concepts through online coursework, freeing faculty to spend more class time on advanced concepts and discussion.  The possibilities are boundless.”

Penn is among the inaugural cohort of universities offering free online courses through Coursera, which launched in 2012.  Penn faculty have offered 19 courses on Coursera, from a wide range of departments, including medicine, finance, design, legal studies, nursing, ethics, computer science, health policy, math, music, engineering, poetry, pharmacology, and classics, and more than 840,000 students from around the world have registered for Penn online courses since they began. Penn’s Introduction to Calculus, an online course taught by Robert Ghrist, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor, has been recommended for credit by the American Council on Education.

The Silfen University Forum is free and attendees can register here.


The event will be held at Irving Auditorium, 3401 Spruce Street


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Filed under Academics, Events, Molly Rand

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