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CWRU offers free online courses

CWRU offers free online courses

(Cleveland)- Case Western Reserve University's first ever free online courses are attracting attention from around the world.

There have already been more than 80,000 people who have signed up to take a six-week course called Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence and an eight-week course called Introduction to International Criminal Law.

Michael Scharf, associate dean for global legal studies at CWRU's law school, is teaching the criminal law course and says as of Tuesday afternoon more than 18,000 people have already signed up. The class starts Wednesday and you still have time to sign up through Coursera.

The non-credit course will cover terrorism, war crimes, piracy and genocide.

This will be the first ever criminal law course taught in this format. "It's scary because there are a lot of international law experts enrolled so I know they're going to be picking at every little thing...but it's exciting too and I'm going to get a lot of great feedback from them," says Scharf.

This course format is made up of eight content units. Each unit is based on an online reading assignment and simulation. Students are given the opportunity to comment online on the reading material and simulation. Each content unit includes video clips and slides, totaling about one hour, drawing from the unit’s reading. The course also offers an enrichment quiz (ungraded) for each unit and an on-going forum for participant discussion. That forum will be monitored and may stimulate the creation of a supplementary clip or two per unit.

This is the first time CWRU is offering Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. Stanford University offered the first course in 2011.

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