UNSW makes computing course free online via open platform

The 12-week course is an example of a massive open online course (MOOC).

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) will make its introductory computing course free online through the Open Learning platform developed by the professor.

The 12-week course starts October 15 and requires five hours of study per week, UNSW said, with the course containing half of the material of the university's introductory computing course.

“Students will learn exactly what UNSW computing students learn when they start their degrees programming in C language, machine code, software engineering practices and principles, and hacking and cracking,” said UNSW Associate Professor Richard Buckland.

The class is an example of a massive open online course (MOOC), supporting an indefinite number of participants who do not have to register with a university. Other MOOCs include edX, a non-profit led by MIT, Harvard University and the University of California, and Coursea, a venture-capitalist funded company founded by two Stanford University professors.

The course is offered through Open Learning, an online education startup founded by Buckland and UNSW graduate Adam Brimo. The platform lets students learn through playing games and incorporates social media features allowing students to comment on lectures, ask questions and like or vote down posts. Students earn karma when their posts are liked.

A wiki feature lets students and course supervisors work together on study notes. Students can receive instant feedback on submitted assignments through an automated marking system.

“YouTube and even more recent online education developments like Coursera don't really replace the classroom or the university experience,” said Buckland. “They are great at delivering content, but not so great at providing the other things students get from attending a course face to face at university — community, learning from peers, tutorials, practical work, and motivation to study and progress.”

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

Join the Computerworld newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.


Karl Reed


Interesting, do any of these free courses earn credit towards a degree or other quakification?

Laurie Lock Lee


I signed up for a couple of Coursera courses recently. They can provide a certificate of completion, but are careful not to tie it to the institution (Standford in this case)...I suspect to not potentially devalue the brand.

The more interesting question for me is where is this all taking us? Content becomes free....Universities now judged by their social learning environments? Who pays?



I am a professional software developer with core assembler knowledge. is it joke - studying machine codes in 12 weeks?

It has been said that machine code is so unreadable that the United States Copyright Office cannot even identify whether a particular encoded program is an original work of authorship. Hofstadter compares machine code with the genetic code.

Studying machine code in 12 weeks. Great!



Harvard professors may be know how to study machine codes in 12 hours.



12 hours to long for Harvard professors.
12 minutes.



When Alexander Bell invented the telephone he had 3 missed calls from Harvard Professors



I guess in Australia we must say No to CBA.
At least we can



My father told me a while ago that Harvard professors already were on the moon.
That's why there is no live.



I remember in Melbourne there used to be a place called
"Harvard professors avenue" but it was renamed because nobody crosses it.

Comments are now closed

Cheap access to the Internet should be a human right: survey