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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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A massive move forward for MOOC


01 OCTOBER 2015 | BY ADAM BUTT

A massive move forward for MOOC
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a recent development in higher education that provide free, or low-cost, education online to millions of students.

The Australian National University (ANU) is a Charter Member of edX, one of the providers of these MOOCs. This model is a perfect fit for people who are considering actuarial science as a career option, but know little about what an actuary is.

‘Introduction to Actuarial Science’ will run live for eight weeks from 19 October 2015; after which we expect to make the course available in an asynchronous mode from early 2016.
As at the time of writing (24 August 2015), the course already has a total of 2,839 enrolments, with a target of 10,000 students looking achievable. Enrolments come from 139 different countries, with the most represented countries being the US (22%), India (14%), Australia (5%) and the UK (5%). The reach of MOOCs is huge.

Students will start from the very basics of cashflow valuation, and by the end of the course they will be performing simulation analysis of a (much simplified) life insurance company. Students engage in the course through a series of short, three- to eight-minute videos, interspersed with questions that examine what has been learned during the videos. The majority of student-student and student-teacher interaction occurs in discussion forums, along with other social media elements.

I see this MOOC as a great opportunity to ‘capture’ the best and the brightest into the profession, so please spread the word.
For details of the ANU MOOC, see bit.ly/1fpQTww