UQ launches free online philosophy and English courses

1 December 2015

Students around the world preparing for English proficiency testing now have access to a new online course offered by the University of Queensland.
It is one of two new free edX courses, with the other designed to attract people interested in “thinking about thinking.”

University of Queensland philosophy and English
The philosophy course develops cognitive skills and philosophical ideas (Image credit: UQ)

Associate Professor Deborah Brown said META101x: Philosophy and Critical Thinking developed the cognitive skills and philosophical ideas needed for a thinking economy.
“It looks at how thinking and argument allow us to frame and approach some of life’s big questions, from how we can know about the world and ourselves, to what it means to be thinking in the first place,” said Dr Brown, who developed the course with fellow academic, Peter Ellerton.
Both are from the UQ School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry.
“META101x is an introductory course aimed at senior secondary school students and first-year university students, though as with all UQx courses, anyone with internet access can enrol.
“The course is short and intense (four weeks), and will transform how you think and engage with the world.”
Each of the four modules is being released weekly, with the first available this week.
The English course—IELTSx: IELTS Academic Test Preparation—has been developed by the Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ) to assist students preparing for assessment through the International English Language Testing System.
TESOL Director of Studies Iain Mathieson said the course was designed for people who did not have English as a first language.
“The self-paced course provides about 80 hours of interactive practice materials covering the four skills tested: listening, speaking, reading and writing,” he said.
“To develop the course we have leveraged the expertise of ICTE-UQ, which has been helping students prepare for the academic IELTS test for more than 25 years.
“The ICTE-UQ staff are excited to have the opportunity to share their IELTS test knowledge and expertise with not only test-takers here at UQ, but now with students from all around the world.
“Each section of the course includes engaging video and audio presentations that cover key test-taking skills, strategies and techniques.
“Students complete a wide variety of authentic IELTS-style exercises and activities which provide focused practice of the skills, strategies and techniques that test-takers need to perform at their best.”
The two new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were part funded through edX’s High School Initiative, which produces MOOCs geared towards secondary school students from around the world.
UQx Director John Zornig said the new courses would suit prospective students who wanted to create change in themselves and to ensure they were university-ready.
“Well-developed English language and critical thinking skills are essential for any student about to embark on their higher education journey,” Mr Zornig said.
“UQx hopes these courses will benefit students wherever they may choose to study. We also hope it might lead them to enrol in a traditional program of study at UQ.”
Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded edX in 2012. It offers stimulating and engaging free online education.

About the UQ School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry

The disciplines of Classics, Religion, Philosophy and History work together in the areas of teaching, research and school administration, whilst retaining their respective community activities and professional associations.
The UQ School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry is recognised for the high quality of its teaching and research. The school’s dynamic team of academic staff are widely published internationally and have extensive research backgrounds.
The school is dedicated to cross-disciplinary teaching and learning activities, so that students are offered a variety of learning experiences in collaboration between the disciplines and with other schools across the university. The research community hosts a vibrant and enthusiastic cohort of research students.

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