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Elite colleges to offer free courses online

SOME of the world's leading universities are planning to offer free courses online, it was announced yesterday.

The courses will be open to anyone with internet access, and will be offered through the online education platform, Coursera.

Officials said the website has already registered 1.3 million students around the world.

The universities involved include US insitutions Brown and Columbia, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of British Columbia, University of London, University of Melbourne, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

In a report issued last week, Moody's Investors Service said the growth of the online courses could help participating universities generate new revenue, increase brand recognition and become more efficient.

However, they also warned that such courses, which can reach an unlimited number of students worldwide, will revolutionise college learning and weaken demand for places in fee-paying universities.

Irish Independent