Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Leading universities may soon offer degrees online

Jul 15, 2016

Leading universities may soon offer degrees onlineTop universities could be offering undergraduates courses online within five years.

All that’s stopping them is branding, according to Professor Daphne Koller. Prof Koller is the president of Coursera, a provider of massive, open, online courses (MOOCs).

Coursera, like other MOOCs, currently offers free courses to the general public. These courses are made up of short units, often designed by universities, which can be completed in order to earn a certificate of recognition. Prof Koller argues that the next stage for online learning would be top universities offering full degree courses online. These courses would not be free, but would allow people to become fully accredited at undergraduate level. Such courses could be useful to students who might not have the time or money to study for a campus-based degree. Countries like India, where there is insufficient capacity in physical institutions, could also benefit.

Whilst the past four years have seen a rise in students wishing to study online, it’s not certain that mainstream universities will choose to meet this demand. Prof Koller says that universities are concerned about the impact offering online degrees could have on their reputation, particularly if they are seen to be moving away from ‘personal tuition’. This autumn the University of Leeds will be the first Russell Group university to offer people the opportunity to earn credits towards a bachelor (undergraduate) degree online.  

Are you interested in studying online? Read more about the free online courses currently available and how open and distance learning can help you overcome obstacles to further study.

Related links