The University of Cape Town (UCT) has gained global recognition after becoming one of three universities in the world to be featured for three different massive online open courses (MOOCs) on Class Central’s Top 50 MOOCs of All Time 2018 list.

UCT has joined the ranks of Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania, who also have three separate courses featured on the list.

Class Central’s list took into account over 10 000 MOOCs from more than 800 universities across the globe, to compile an elite few as a guide for learners around the world.

The rankings are based off thousands of reviews written by Class Central users who have tried multitudes of online courses.

The list is well-revised and aims at helping overwhelmed students to better choose their MOOC, especially if it is their first time trying an online course.

Graduating UCT students

UCT has a portfolio of 14 online course making waves internationally, six of which have been singled out as world class by the global MOOC monitoring website Class Central.

Every year since the launch of the university’s first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in 2015, one or more have featured on Class Central’s annual Top 50 MOOCs of All Time list, and the newly-released 2018 list is no exception.

ʻWhat is a Mind?’, presented by internationally-acclaimed neuropsychologist and psychoanalyst Professor Mark Holms – who heads UCT’s Department of Psychology –  retained its five stars in the latest list, along with ʻExtinctions: Past and Presentʼ, presented by renowned palaeontologist Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan (Department of Biological Sciences), and ʻUnderstanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statisticsʼ, by Dr Juan Klopper (Acute Care Surgery).

UCT had a further three MOOCs included in The Definitive List of Courses for Learning About the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

This list is compiled with input from the SDG Academy within the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The SDG Academy and Class Central identified more than 100 courses on sustainable development from global universities, including Harvard, Oxford, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

UCT graduate ceremony

The university recently launched two new MOOCs aligned with the SDGs.

These include ʻLarge Marine Ecosystems: Assessment and Managementʼ, from the Marine Research Institute (aligned with SDG 14: Life Below Water), and the African Climate and Development Initiative’s ʻClimate Adaptation in Africaʼ (SDG 13: Climate Action).

Since the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) launched the first two MOOCs in 2015, ʻMedicine and the Arts: Humanising Healthcareʼ and ʻWhat is a Mind?ʼ, which are now in their fourth year on FutureLearn, more than 220 000 people from across the world have signed up for UCTʼs open online courses.

“We’re really proud that UCT is able to contribute to the global offerings,” said Janet Small, course development manager in the CILT.


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