Cambridge Advance Online courses open up University of Cambridge as part of major digital learning expansion

The University of Cambridge’s world-class teaching, thinking and research is available to professionals worldwide through a new programme of online courses.

Cambridge Advance Online brings together the academic strength of the University, and the publishing strength of Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment to develop a portfolio of 50 short courses over the next five years that will allow learners to develop their skills and specialise in emerging areas that address global challenges. The cross-disciplinary courses – created by the University of Cambridge academics who will lead them – are being designed and developed by Cambridge University Press to meet the needs of today’s professional learners.

Changed attitudes across society to online working and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic have galvanised the University’s digital ambitions, and Cambridge Advance Online aims to reach people around the world who are looking to upskill, gain further education and distinguish themselves in the post-pandemic job market.

The development of a new overarching ‘University of Cambridge Online’ brand – which Cambridge Advance Online, among others, will come under – signals the expansion of the University’s online provision for learners across the globe, while maintaining and enhancing its exceptional in-person education for degree students in Cambridge.

The certificated courses will reflect the Cambridge experience and values, with low student to tutor ratios and academically rigorous standards. They will allow students to engage directly with academics at Cambridge, and are centred on rich interaction between students and subject experts, and enhanced peer-to-peer networking. Each course will offer participants the opportunity to join live sessions with academics and interact in collaborative exercises with learners worldwide.

The first four Cambridge Advance Online courses will open for enrolment in July. They are: Product Technology RoadmappingBionanotechnology from Theory to PracticeBusiness from Bioscience, and Research Commercialisation and Technology Transfer.

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, said: “Cambridge Advance Online is opening up academic talent across the University to professional learners around the world. With a hugely successful record in product development and supporting business start-ups, and a thriving university ecosystem contributing to society through research, Cambridge will bring vibrant new perspectives to business through these courses, enhance professional development, and meet the needs of organisations and individuals.

“Although in-person teaching remains at the heart of a Cambridge education, the experience of the past year has further highlighted opportunities to enhance teaching with digital technology, and has only accelerated work already under way to expand our education offer through online learning. Across the University – in Departments and Faculties – the flexibility digital tools can offer has been embraced, as it has across the world.”

Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), said: “Being able to draw together the combined expertise of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment allows us to develop these courses using the skills and experience we have ‘in-house’ and puts us in a unique position.

“It means we have the expertise and freedom to create a truly great digital product and be able to wield the right tools rather than make compromises. These courses will be as interactive as we can make them, with Cambridge tutors and academics leading discussions, and will ultimately create global networks of professionals. An exceptional learner experience is key, so Cambridge Advance Online will be tailored to meet the needs of individuals specifically in an online environment, rather than just trying to replicate an in-person teaching environment online.”

Professor Richard Prager, the Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Advisor on Online Education, said “Excellence in education is at the heart of the mission and success of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment have unique resources to develop and support a state-of-the-art educational platform and framework. Cambridge Advance Online will bring the best of Cambridge professional education to a wide audience.”

Anna Wood, Managing Director of Cambridge Online Education at the Press, said: “It’s been fantastic to work with the University and to build this new programme of professional courses, which will give forward-thinking professionals the opportunity to harness the latest ideas, discussions, research and innovations from Cambridge to change society for the better.”

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