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University of Texas Austin Considering Hopping on the MOOC Bandwagon

Massive Open Online Courses have exploded onto the higher education scene and another major university wants in.

The University of Texas at Austin is currently in negotiations with Coursera and edX to enter into a partnership, the university’s Vice Provost for Higher Education Policy Harrison Keller, told the University of Texas System Board of Regents on blended and online learning last week during a special presentation.

UT Austin’s President Bill Powers corroborated those reports.

“We are looking into this with great interest,” he told the Texas Tribune.

If the university partners with edX, they will be the fourth member university joining founders Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as the University of California, Berkeley. Coursera also boasts an impressive roster of 16 member universities, including Stanford University, Princeton University, the University of Michigan, Duke University and the University of Toronto.

The university is currently trying to determine what member universities should be putting into the partnership they eventually choose, and what they should be getting out—both financially and otherwise.

“These are very complex deals,” Keller told the Tribune. “There are lots of different dimensions around intellectual property, and in the event that there were revenues that were generated, there are a lot of things that would have to be worked out.”

Keller was quick to point out that whichever direction the university chooses to go, MOOCs will not have a major impact on the learning that takes place on the Austin campus.

We don’t see these as replacing what we do with our learning management systems,” he said. “There are things you can do to leverage the capabilities of the platform and the scale of the audience.”