In 2013 the University of Queensland joined edX, the international consortium led by Harvard and MIT whose goal is to create and deliver learning through MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. UQx, the University of Queensland's title for its MOOCs, was born. By the end of 2014 there were nearly a quarter of a million enrolments from more than 250 countries and regions in UQx courses. That is nearly five times the University's current regular enrolment.In MOOCs all content, exercises and assessment are delivered on-line on the Web. The courses are free and available to anyone anywhere. They provide a marvellous way to showcase the University's teaching, and to help the University reach of the implied goals in its name: a universal learning resource. 

But MOOCs also constitute a challenge to existing teaching and learning practices. Around the world many leading university teachers are putting their current course content on-line in mini-MOOCs, exploiting the "flipped classroom" to secure contact time with the students for discussion and tutorial work.

There is a broad shift towards student-driven "active" learning. Some MOOCs are now available for university credit. And there are degree courses taught entirely through MOOCs.

These are potentially disruptive influences. The University of Queensland is among an elite international group of universities leading the exploration of the possibilities of edX and online courses. But what will our University look like if the lecture is effectively replaced by online learning, and if students can study from anywhere on the planet?


Emeritus Professor Roly Sussex OAM
Roland (Roly) Sussex was Professor of Applied Language Studies at the University of Queensland from 1989 until 2010. Before that he taught Linguistics and Russian at the University of Reading (UK) and Monash University in Melbourne, and was the foundation professor Of Russian at the University of Melbourne from 1977 to 1989. He is currently Research Professor in the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, and the School of Languages and Cultures, at the University of Queensland.

He was chair of the Library Board of Queensland from 2009 to 2014, and is now Deputy Chair. He has been President of the Alliance Française of Brisbane since 2010. In 2012 he was made Patron of the Institute of Professional Editors.

His current research is located in the triangle between language, culture and society, and technology. He is co-chief investigator in the PainLang Research Group at the University of Queensland, which is investigating the use of language in the diagnosis, treatment and management of pain.

His most recent major publications are The Slavic languages with Paul Cubberley, Cambridge University Press, 2006); and Andy Kirkpatrick and Roland Sussex (eds), English as an international language in Asia: Implications for language education. Berlin and London: Springer-Verlag, 2012).

Roly Sussex writes a weekly column on language for the Brisbane Courier-Mail, and has been broadcasting every week to Queensland on ABC radio since 1997, and for the last decade to South Australia. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012.

GLS, Roly Sussex, February 2015 from UQ Journalism & Communication on Vimeo.

About Global Leadership Series

The Global Leadership Series (GLS) is a lively program of events for alumni and community members. Join us for lectures and discussions with the best of the best UQ-related speakers on matters that impact your community and shape your ideas of the world.

The series is an opportunity for you to engage with great minds on global matters, participate in thought-provoking discussions and network with UQ alumni and community members. All alumni, parents, community members and friends are welcome to attend the Global Leadership Series events.

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