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Space flight is subject for first MOOC at KTH

KTH joins the edX network for massive open online courses

Published Jan 21, 2016

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has joined the ranks of universities that educate on a broad front through massive open online courses — or MOOCs — by becoming an edX member.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has joined the ranks of universities that educate on a broad front through massive open online courses — or MOOCs — by becoming an edX member.

The university's first course, Human Spaceflight – An Introduction , will cover the subject of manned space flight, with history-making astronaut Christer Fuglesang, who heads the KTH Space Center . Fuglesang became the first Swede in space in 2006, and he joined the KTH faculty as adjunct professor in space physics in 2013.

KTH is among a number of leading universities that use the learning platform edX , a nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where the online courses can be accessed. The edX website shows the offering of courses, which range in discipline from astronomy to python programming. Globally, edX has more than 90 educational institutions as members and more than 6 million registered learners.

"KTH's decision to join edX is connected with our efforts to further strengthen and complement our campus-based education with digital learning environments," says Eva Malmström Jonsson, KTH Vice President.

“We are honored to welcome KTH Royal Institute of Technology, a renowned technical University in Sweden, to edX,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT Professor. “By partnering with edX, KTH will now be able to share its research and education expertise - spanning from natural sciences to all branches of engineering - with a global learning community.”

Other aims of the initiative are to raise the profile of KTH both domestically and internationally by highlighting and sharing the university's research excellence; and to make further progress in terms of educational development in digital learning and online methods.

What KTH does hope it will lead to?

"Experience from other universities shows that membership in edX excites faculty and researchers and that digital learning environments lead to positive development for the entire university. We hope for both outcomes, as well as greater international visibility and, thus, wider knowledge of KTH's research and education."

Various surveys show that only about 10 percent of those enrolled complete their course. Is that a problem?

"Experience shows that MOOC courses have a low completion rate. But in any case it is important to spread knowledge and raise interest and curiosity."

KTH's first online course starts on 18 April, with Christer Fuglesang leading a course called Human Space Flight - An Introduction . What is the idea behind the space flight course being the first KTH MOOC?"A MOOC on manned spaceflight led by an astronaut provides a unique opportunity for students. We hope that KTH's first MOOC will attract a big enrollment."

Many of the world's most prestigious and highly-ranked universities are edX partners, offering online courses to learners around the world.

Over the next three years, KTH plans to offer between 10 and 20 MOOCs.