Published: 28-05-2013 00:00 | Updated: 13-02-2014 13:55

KI becomes first university in Sweden to offer massive open online courses for a global student audience

A new partnership with educational platform edX means that Karolinska Institutet has become the first university in Sweden to offer internet-based courses to hundreds of thousands of students around the world.

"This means that we have put ourselves way ahead of the field as we meet the future's demand for quality academic courses," says dean of higher education Professor Jan-Olov Höög. "It makes Karolinska Institutet an important actor on the global educational arena&and puts it in good company."

EdX is a non-profit enterprise founded by Harvard University the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create a platform offering quality university-level Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) free of charge. The venture has since expanded to include 27 universities based in all continents of the world and over 900,000 students. Karolinska Institutet now joins a select group of prestigious universities, such as Berkeley, Cornell, Toronto and Mc Gill.

"We hope that by being part of this global context we will show the way for other Swedish universities," says Dr Nabil Zary, docent, coordinator of KI's partnership with edX. "Being able to offer courses online not only lifts our overseas profile, but also importantly motivates the development of new courses."

KIx - Karolinska Institutet's web portal - will open with a package of four courses commencing in the autumn of 2014. All courses will be hosted on the edX platform, where they can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection regardless of location or social status.

"It also means that we're honouring our social responsibilities," adds Dr Zary. "We've been wanting to share our knowledge and make our courses more widely available for a long time, and now at last we've found the means to do it. This is just the beginning."