Purdue NExT online learning program launches global website, now open to individuals, businesses, industry

April 21, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue NExT, an online interactive learning program, has launched its global website, offering 25 new classes.

 Purdue NExT is an outgrowth of PurdueHUB-U, an online education initiative announced in 2012. It is based on HUBzero, a powerful computing platform developed at Purdue and combined with an emphasis on learner-centered modular course development and distribution.

 The program features direct interaction between educational content and students through the use of interactive simulation tools, one of the principal characteristics distinguishing Purdue NExT from open online courses (MOOCs), said Tim Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

"Purdue NExT uses an evolved learning platform that leverages cloud computing to provide an immersive education environment," Sands said. "Many courses are coupled with Purdue's supercomputing environment, supporting application simulations. Short, targeted modules allow students and professionals to construct their own educational programs to meet their specific needs. Students can ask questions and receive feedback from Purdue's world-class faculty, and there is verifiable academic rigor in each course."

The five-week, non-degree, non-credit courses also help professionals and businesses improve skill levels and focus on core skills vital to continued success in a specific field of study, said Ananth Iyer, faculty director of Purdue NExT.

"Purdue NExT is designed to be modular and appropriate for delivering specific capability – a modern digital textbook," Iyer said. "It is aimed at providing Purdue faculty expertise worldwide to universities and industry who require online, interactive, applied training to employees in order to stay competitive. It also is available to individual learners looking to expand their expertise, including undergraduate students, graduate students and professionals."

Twenty-five courses are now available, and 23 more are in production, he said. Purdue faculty have submitted more than 100 submitted proposals for courses that could be offered in the future.

The current offerings include certificates in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Lean Supply Chain Management and VLSI Design. Each of these certificates uses domain specific software tools, hosted by Purdue NExT with interactive exercises for learners.

Purdue NExT is part of the transformational learning component of Purdue Moves, an initiative designed to broaden the university's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students.

Purdue students at the West Lafayette campus can take any of the courses free of charge. At the end of a course, students receive a badge and also can apply for a CEU certificate.

Costs for others vary from $299 to $499 per course. The courses can be taken as standalone modules, as part of a series or as a supplementary experience embedded in an existing credit-bearing course. Students will view video lectures, interact with simulation and computational tools, and take quizzes at their own convenience. Homework assignments, exams and discussion forums will be on a schedule that is fixed by the host institution.

The Purdue NExT courses are also used in courses at the West Lafayette campus. Steve Abel, Bucke Professor of Pharmacy Practice, and John B. Hertig, associate director of the Center for Medication Safety Advancement, have used Purdue NExT as part of a core course for third-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy students.

"We included a series of online modules about preparing parenteral products," Abel said. "The content is educational and practical because some of the modules involve the process for sterile preparation of products in a simulated online environment reflecting an actual cleanroom."

Hertig said the Purdue NExT pilot program "successfully demonstrated improvements in knowledge and comprehension regarding compounding sterile medications after participating in the virtual cleanroom program." 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu  

Sources: Timothy D. Sands, 765-494-9709, tsands@purdue.edu

Steve Dunlop, 765-494-7800, dunlops@purdue.edu 

Steve Abel, 765-613-2315, abels@purdue.edu

John Hertig, 317-275-6085, jhertig@purdue.edu

 Ananth Iyer, 765-494-4514, aiyer@purdue.edu

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