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CEE's Bill Buttlar Part of Illinois Coursera Initiative

11/13/2012 4:20:00 AM

Yeh Center
Yeh Center
Professor William G. Buttlar, Director of Online and Blended Learning for CEE at Illinois, has been appointed to the University of Illinois committee charged with reviewing courses for inclusion on Coursera, which offers free web-based education in Massive Open Online Classes. This summer, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign became the first public land-grant university to offer courses on Coursera.
Founded in the fall of 2011, Coursera has served more than 680,000 students from 190 countries and hosted more than 1.55 million course enrollments across its 43 courses. Illinois expects to offer courses on a variety of topics in varying lengths.  Short, focused courses may last only four weeks, while more comprehensive courses may go as long as 7 to 10 weeks.  Illinois’ courses started this fall. For more information on the university’s offerings, visit
The Coursera Course Review Committee, or CCRC, is developing a request for proposal template and a competitive process for evaluating and prioritizing future course offerings considering the campus’ land-grant mission. 
“Successful proposals will lead to Coursera courses which complement, not compete with, existing online courses and programs,” said Buttlar. “For instance, short, discovery-type courses of broad appeal could be offered on Coursera, which may inspire and lead new audiences to our excellent existing online and on-campus certificate and degree programs. Modules within Coursera courses will be available to our current students and can be used by instructors to create more time for in-class discussion and active learning.”
Buttlar is the Narbey Khachaturian Faculty Scholar, and founder and director of CEE Online, which offers master’s level classes for those seeking a graduate degree, certificates or continuing education in a variety of civil and environmental engineering sub-disciplines. He is also an Associate Dean in the Graduate College and chairs two campus-level committees charged with supporting and coordinating the growth of online graduate programs at the Urbana-Champaign campus. 
Other universities who have recently signed agreements with Coursera include the California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Rice University, University of California – San Francisco, University of Edinburgh, University of Toronto, University of Virginia, and University of Washington. Princeton, University of Michigan, Stanford, and University of Pennsylvania joined earlier in 2012.