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UVA Launches Series of Free Online Classes - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Launches Series of Free Online Classes

Posted: Updated: Jan 14, 2013 06:30 PM EST

The University of Virginia is officially tapping into a new world for education.

The first of its online courses went global Monday morning, providing hundreds of thousands of people with high-quality instruction at no cost.

Physics professor Lou Bloomfield is taking his message to the masses.

"Taking it online allows me to explain real science to a lot of people," he said.

Bloomfield is one of five professors trading in the traditional learning environment for one that can be accessed with a point and a click.

And this isn't a talking head lecture; he's bringing a style that makes physics pop.

"My class is about the real world and I can't go to the real world, but for these videos, the online version of the class, I can do it," Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield's videos are all about action, and some include doing demonstrations while roller skating or dropping objects from the third floor of the physics building.

The free courses are made possible by a partnership with Coursera, a company that works with universities to offer free online courses.

At last check, more than 37,000 people had signed up for Bloomfield's course and the university's six courses combined had surpassed the quarter-of-a-million mark.

UVA's Online Learning Environment program will meet with deans in February to assess progress and determine the next steps. The physics class will launch on March 4.

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