The University of Melbourne has become the first Australian university to join the prestigious online course provider Coursera, which offers free subjects to anyone with an internet connection.


The University announced it will begin putting up subject content early next year, and expects to have 10 subjects available on the Coursera service by the end of 2013.


University of Melbourne Provost Professor Margaret Sheil said the University was delighted to join Coursera and leading universities, including Stanford and Princeton, in offering courses to a broad and diverse new audience who otherwise may not have the chance to engage with the University.


“We are pleased to be the first Australian university to partner with Coursera to offer free online subjects to anyone, anywhere in the world, with a computer and Internet access,” she said.

"The past year has seen an explosion in interest in online opportunities that will challenge traditional ways of delivering education, Melbourne is looking forward to being at the forefront of those developments.


“Our initial set of subject offerings through Coursera will be diverse, ranging from macroeconomics and animal behaviour to discrete optimization and epigenetics.