June 3, 2016

Cornell Launches New Online Learning Program

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Cornell strives to stay in step with the Internet’s promotion of educational opportunities with the introduction of WebSeries, eCornell’s latest mechanism for online learning.

WebSeries consists of one-hour long lectures that provide “flexible access to Cornell faculty organized around specific topics of interest,” according to Paul Krause, CEO of eCornell and associate vice provost of online learning at Cornell. The series launched its first episode in February.

Krause said WebSeries described the service as providing an “easy, bite-sized sampler of experts and topics.”

“The best attribute of the series for a participant is hearing from Cornell faculty about their latest research and how this can be applied,” he said. “For Cornell departments and faculty the best attribute is [having] access to a turn-key infrastructure and relatively easy way to launch online programs that interest their target stakeholders outside of Ithaca.”

WebSeries gives professionals — who do not have time for a full course or certificate program — the opportunity to build their knowledge and skills, according to Krause.

“The target audience tends to be busy working professionals that want to stay informed on the latest research and stay connected with Cornell’s thought leaders,” Krause said.

Krause added that there is no application for the series and anyone can subscribe. Users can subscribe to a channel at $39 per month or $279 per year, according to the eCornell website.

Human resources, women in leadership and entrepreneurship are the first three channels offered by the new series, according to the website.

Mona Anita Olsen ’04, assistant professor in the School of Hotel Administration, gave an online lecture for the Entrepreneurship channel in March. She said she discussed her involvement in The Pillsbury Institute — a Hotel School program that helps undergraduate and graduate students developing entrepreneurial skills.

Olsen said she joined WebSeries because she likes “taking on new opportunities.” She added that the program allowed her to share her work with the “greater Cornell entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

“I am a consumer of online education and used it as an experience to expand my own use of technology in order to reach a different entrepreneurship market,” she said.

Olsen called her experience with WebSeries “energizing,” saying that she was attracted to the program due to the eCornell team’s “passion for their work.”

Olsen also explained that many people are involved in the creation of WebSeries content, detailed the substantive process required to approve a new idea for the series.

“Typically, faculty meet with the eCornell team to brainstorm ideas for sessions — faculty can bring ideas to eCornell and eCornell brings ideas to faculty,” she said.

Olsen added that the prospect of online learning is exciting as it opens up opportunities to “further connect the globe through education.”

“Entrepreneurship is borderless and online learning is a tremendous opportunity to build collaborative bridges across educational institutions in different countries and also enrich the experiences for our students, providing them not only with theory and opportunities to apply their knowledge, but to obtain necessary technical knowledge to be able to thrive in the rapidly changing market,” she said.

eCornell — Cornell’s online education department — currently offers over 30 certificate programs for professional development across a wide range of disciplines, according to the department’s website.