College & Career

University of Illinois online classes site./TRIBUNE PHOTO

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

The University of Illinois’ initial free online courses attracted about 14,000 enrollments on the first day of registration, according to the company partnering with the university on the project.

“Overnight, we have (thousands of) students interested in the University of Illinois courses, the most esoteric of which I don’t understand the title,” Phyllis Wise, chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus, told university trustees at their meeting today.

Coursera, an online education company, announced a dozen new university partners Tuesday, including U. of I. The university had contacted Coursera only last week to express an interest in joining, and the U. of I. agreed to offer 10 classes.

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller, a Stanford University professor, said there were 14,000 registrations for the U. of I. courses. The most popular is a course on developing applications for smartphones, followed by a computer science class on parallel programming. Other subjects include organic chemistry and planet Earth.

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