Coursera Crazy Smart AdIn July 2012, Duke joined a growing number of leading universities in partnering with Coursera, a California-based education company, to deliver Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) free to the world.

Eleven courses are being offered in the 2012-2013 academic year, with some 530,000 students around the world signing up. (In just a few weeks, enrollment for Duke professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's philosophy class, "Think Again: How to Reason and Argue," had grown to more than 180,000 students!) That's more than 35 times the number of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Duke in a given year.

MOOCs don't follow the traditional college course format. They may run the length of an academic semester, or not. Though students receive no credit, the courses are rigorous. They include interactive quizzes, collaborative online forums and interactive assignments, along with recorded lectures that students watch.

But one thing they all have in common is that it takes a team effort to deliver this new kind of course to a worldwide classroom. And Duke University Libraries are playing a part.

Our Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) supports Coursera faculty with expertise and resources ranging from course design and online teaching strategies, while our Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication negotiates copyright issues related to course materials. Duke's Office of Information Technology coordinates video production, editing and helps with other technology needs. And assessment and overall planning are supported through the Office of the Provost.

The final result — an expertly taught, college-level course offered for free and open to anyone — is the result of a close collaboration between Duke faculty and many different people and departments across campus.

Duke has been experimenting for many years with new models for teaching and learning, both online and in the traditional classroom, and MOOCs are a natural extension of that. Experimental courses encourage exploration of new teaching strategies, extend Duke's commitment to sharing knowledge in service to society and showcase Duke's excellent faculty and academic programs.

For more information about online courses offered by Duke, visit or see Coursera.

To support these and other innovative initiatives at Duke University Libraries, make your gift today.

See our archive of all "Crazy Smart" stories from across the Libraries.