About: One of two members of the Association of American Universities located outside the United States, the The University of Toronto (U of T, UToronto, or Toronto) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Academically noted for influential movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory known as the Toronto School, it the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, the site of the first practical electron microscope, the development of multi-touch technology, the identification of Cygnus X-1 as a black hole, and the theory of NP completeness.

Details: With the help of Coursera ( an online open platform that offers courses in association with leading international universities), the University of Toronto is set to launch a whole new suite of online courses available to one and all. With pilot courses on a wide range of topics like neural networks, mental health and Aboriginal education etc., the members and friends of the university use, create and open access to sites with thousands of pages of digital content, learning modules, research repository, journals using Open UToronto.

Opinion: According to Cheryl Misak, Vice-President and Provost of the University of Toronto, the University is well pleased to be a part of this project enabling open access education and especially with Coursera's focus on quality programmes. The university perceives this as an opportunity to interact better with its peers who are well known in their respective fields.

Platform details: Coursera developed by the professors at Stanford University now boasts of partners like Princeton, Stanford, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. University of Toronto is the first Canadian university to join this consortium. In recent times other universities and institutes joining in are the California Institute of Technology, the Duke University, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the University of Edinburgh, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Johns Hopkins University, the Rice University, the University of California San Francisco, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington.In a span of six months, the consortium has enabled more than 680,000 students from across the globe to gain accesss to more than 50 university courses. This is more so due to the fact that such programmes wouldnt not be available to students with little or no access quality education in the earlier traditional setup. This is the reason for the massive popularity of these online courses.

Courses offered: Initial courses by the university will be two computer science courses from the Faculty of Arts & Science dealing with programming and neural networks for machine learning. The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work will offer a course on the social context of mental health and illness while the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education will deal with the course on Aboriginal world views in education. all these courses will be non credit & open access via Coursera

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