One Australian University will launch its first ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) today, and already has over 20,000 people waiting for the first lesson.

UNSW’s first course to be offered via the education platform Coursera has gone live, and is being eagerly engaged by more than 20,000 students already enrolled.

The nine-week UNSW course is believed to be the first MOOC to cover systems engineering in a comprehensive, internet-based way.

The leaders of the new course have made an introduction video for anyone considering tackling the world of system engineering. 

“To launch such a high-quality, popular course as our first MOOC... marks a significant milestone for UNSW,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Iain Martin said.

“We have learnt a great deal from the development of our first MOOC. This knowledge will not only inform future open courses but will also help us to enhance the educational experience of our own on-campus students.”

UNSW’s next two MOOCs – 'Learning to Teach Online' and 'Mechanics: Motion, Forces, Energy and Gravity, from Particles to Planets’ – will launch in July and August.

Enrolment in the Introduction to Systems Engineering course is free to anyone, from novices to experienced practitioners such as project managers, engineers, and quality assurance representatives.

The course comprises eight modules delivered through video lectures, readings, quizzes and a series of exercises, including peer-review of other students’ work.

“We are delighted to be offering the first MOOC in systems engineering and we are looking forward to providing the course as an ‘entrée’ to further higher learning,” said Dr Ryan.

“It provides a rare opportunity for a large number of people to be exposed to such a critical discipline in a complex, changing world.”

More details are available at UNSW’s MOOC site