The University of Queensland (UQ) has confirmed that it will expand its online learning services in the next two years.
According to Professor Phil Long, director of UQ's Education Innovation and Technology, the university has been "exploring opportunities" alongside other institutions to work towards the development of a new online learning environment.
The university plans to introduce massive open online courses (MOOCs), qualifications that involve large-scale participation and open access via the internet.
Between one and two courses from each of UQ's six faculties will become available online in a MOOC format, although details of the courses themselves have yet to be announced.
Mr Long said that that releasing course content online for a broader audience would enable Australians and other distance learners to see the advantages the university has to offer.
He added: "[It also highlights] the unique design and structure of courses in a research-intensive, learning-focused university curriculum.”
Professor Deborah Terry, vice-chancellor for UQ, said that the initiative is integral to the university's blueprint for technology-enhanced learning that was recently distributed to its staff.
“The initiative will create MOOCs for the world and a richer place-based learning experience for UQ students,” she added.
Other institutions it could partner with include the Office of Educational Innovation & Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The announcement comes soon after the University of Melbourne arranged a joint venture with US-based online course provider Coursera.
Melbourne is due to bring out seven free online courses next year and expects to have around ten altogether through Coursera by the end of 2013.
The move to online education from Australian universities was noted by Open Universities Australia's chief executive Paul Wappet, who said that over 60,000 students will graduate from digital courses this year.
He commented that online engagement has grown over the last ten years as more people adapt their studies flexibly in accordance with their lifestyle.