The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has started teaching its global course in partnership with Coursera, which provides free online courses from senior lecturers at some of the world’s leading universities.
The course, Synapses, Neurons and Brains, has approximately 40,000 students from around the world registered, including students from Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, India, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and Algeria, as well as Europe, South America, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
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The online course will acquaint students with the human brain’s functioning and basic components, exciting aspects of current brain research, and the future of brain research. The nine-week course, which will begin on May 31, is taught by Professor Idan Segev of the Hebrew University’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences.
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“The course incorporates an active forum where students are invited to ask questions and there are active discussions. Students come from different backgrounds some without any prior knowledge in the field of brain research,” said Guy Eyal, a moderator from the Hebrew University. “The most interesting thing is the number of students coming from dozens of different countries all over the world. This is really globalization at its best,” said Eyal.
According to Segev, “We are in a unique moment in the study of the brain, as Europe and the US have just announced huge projects costing billions of dollars to advance our understanding of both healthy and diseased brains.” Segev is a partner in the giant Human Brain Project that was recently granted one billion Euros by the European Union.
Making higher education accessible to everyone
In addition to the course on brain science, other courses will soon be offered by Hebrew University faculty including Professor Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Center for Bioengineering, and Professor Jonathan Garb, the 2010 recipient of the Hebrew University President’s Prize for Outstanding Researcher, who teaches at the Department of Jewish Thought at the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies. Israeli historian Dr. Yuval Noah Harari will also offer a course on Coursera.
In September 2012 the Hebrew University announced it would partner with Coursera, joining leading US and international universities to make quality content available outside the classroom. The initiative will enable millions of people worldwide to learn from Hebrew University faculty who are leaders in their fields. The Hebrew University is the only Israeli university in the program, alongside partners such as Caltech (California Institute of Technology), Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University and Stanford University.
Coursera was founded in 2011 by Stanford University professors looking for a way to use technology to bring higher education to more people. Backed by leading venture capital firms, Coursera is on a mission to change the world by educating millions of people, by offering classes from top universities and professors online for free.
Photo by dierk schaefer