University of Queensland awarded global grant to provide free online courses

The University of Queensland is among just ten educational institutions to receive a slice of $1.4 million to create courses designed to develop Essential Human Skills for the Virtual Age.

UQ’s new online course will be open and free to anyone. Adobe

UQ’s successful course proposal, The Future World of Work – An Immersive Digital Experience, was one of 100 submissions from across five continents received by edX, a leading global online learning platform provider.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Doune Macdonald congratulated the UQx team on its success, which will enable UQ to further expand its already large catalogue of online courses.

“The partnership with edX allows UQ to significantly extend the university’s global engagement, while creating a range of internationally competitive offerings that are responsive to, and co-designed with, industry and students, Professor Macdonald said.

“Australia’s workforce needs will shift significantly over the next decade and UQ will become a premier provider of high-quality postgraduate learning opportunities.”

“We know that many professionals will want to dip in and out of education throughout their working life to develop the specific skills and knowledge they need to progress or change their career, and we are committed to meeting their needs.”

Senior Manager Learning partnerships and Course Lead, Anna Richards said UQ’s successful proposal develops 21st century skills that can be applied in both traditional and virtual environments.

“These skills, which include critical thinking, collaboration and communication, information and technology literacy, initiative and adaptability, have been identified as being crucial for success in the workplace of the future,” Ms Richards said.

“This course will set learners up to embrace digital and automated environments and allow them to shift seamlessly between virtual and physical work settings.”

Founded in 2012 by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), edX is committed to making high-quality educational experiences more widely available.

The platform is open and free to anyone regardless of previous study or work experience.

The content will be designed for learners entering the workforce for the first time through to mid-career professionals who want to upskill or change direction.

It is also available to organisations for training purposes.

All proposals underwent a rigorous review by an interdisciplinary internal board that evaluated each one against a variety of factors including adherence to the brief, high-quality learning design, clearly articulated learning outcomes, and market relevance.

EdX Founder and 2U Chief Open Education Officer Professor, Anant Agarwal said the organisation was overwhelmed with submissions.

“The immense support for this initiative demonstrates the edX community’s commitment to create highly relevant and accessible educational experiences for learners worldwide, and I’m delighted that this library of content will soon be available to help prepare people from all backgrounds to thrive in today’s digital workplace,” Professor Agarwal said.

Since its establishment in 2014, UQ courses on the edX platform have cumulatively had four million enrolments.