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    Nov 12, 2015

    NIE International to offer online courses

    EDUCATORS worldwide will soon be able to tap on the expertise of Singapore's teacher-training institute over the Internet.

    The National Institute of Education (NIE) International - the business consultancy arm of the institute - intends to offer courses with United States-based education provider, Coursera.

    The tie-up is the latest here, after the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) started putting up courses last year on the popular massive online open course platform.

    Professor Lee Sing Kong, managing director of NIE International, told The Straits Times that it hopes to launch one or two courses by the end of next year.

    The courses, which will cater to educators around the world, are likely to cover topics such as management and school leadership.

    Prof Lee said that many educators are interested in the teacher-training institute's courses but they come from very far away places such as South America.

    It started talks with Coursera this year to develop a few specific modules so that educators can tap on the content that NIE has developed to train teachers.

    Participants will have to pay a fee for the course, at the end of which they get a certificate of accreditation from NIE International.

    Prof Lee said that if there is interest in the courses, it will offer more courses in science and mathematics teaching methods.

    Meanwhile, thousands have signed up for the online courses offered by the two local universities.

    NUS, the first university here to partner Coursera, offered three courses to the public last year.

    This year, it launched two more - one on Superhero Entertainments and another specialisation programme in Public Relations For Digital Media.

    So far, NUS' courses - each usually comprising six to eight weeks of video presentations, exercises, quizzes and peer-to-peer assessment - have attracted about 180,000 learners from more than 100 countries.

    In January next year, it will offer another specialisation programme - Communicating In the Globalised Workplace.

    Over at NTU, 210,000 participants have signed up for the courses taught by the university's professors on topics such as Forensic Science and E-commerce.

    The university's third course on Coursera in January, on e-commerce, attracted 28,000 participants from around the world.

    Its next course, in Confucian Philosophy, to be launched in the first half of next year, has already had 6,200 sign-ups.

    Sandy Lee, 22, a second-year NTU sociology student who took the Symmetry and Forensic Science modules this year, said that online learning would be more suitable for science courses which "tend to be more straightforward".

    "Humanities and languages still require classroom learning as the content is more diverse and usually require more interaction," she said.