The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota are among a growing number of universities offering free online courses through their websites.
The schools are among 29 new institutions partnering with Coursera, of Mountain View, Calif., in offering "massive open online courses," or MOOCs. The courses have attracted millions of students and have allowed people from all walks of life to learn from leading scholars free of charge. The courses don't offer college credit.
Five University of Minnesota professors have signed on to create the courses, including "Sustainability of Food Systems." Coursera already has agreements with 33 other institutions, including Johns Hopkins and Stanford.
UW-Madison vice provost Jeff Russell said the university would rather be in the game than on the sidelines watching.