Tel Aviv University and the Technion announced on Sunday their partnership with the international education company Coursera, which provides free online courses.

The two institutions will soon offer especially developed classes in four study areas – including engineering, archeology, biology and cultural studies – on the company’s website.

With the initiative, the two Israeli universities will join some 80 higher education institutions worldwide who are already signed up to Coursera, including Stanford University, Princeton University and Yale University.

TAU and the Technion will thus join the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the only Israeli higher education institution to be offering the service so far.

The Technion’s first online course, which will focus on nanotechnology and nano-sensors, will be available in both Hebrew and Arabic and conducted by Professor Hossam Haick of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering.

TAU’s initial contribution to the website will consist of a lecture about the rise and fall of Jerusalem under the Byzantine regime by Professor Oded Lifschitz of the university’s Department of Archaeology and Middle Eastern Studies.

In addition, a lesson in plant ecology and a course on the rise of the modern Middle East will be offered.

“We are excited about joining the initiative of Coursera, which not only gives us an opportunity to contribute to society but will also advance the teaching on campus,” said Prof. Daniel Lewin, assistant to the senior vice president for the promotion of teaching at the Technion, in a statement.

Tel Aviv University vice president Prof. Raanan Rein also welcomed the project and said it “reflects TAU’s commitment to innovation in teaching” and increases global exposure to higher education.

One of the founders of Coursera, Daphne Koller, who is originally from Israel, said she was “honored” to work with the two universities and to be able to “provide students with access to an excellent education, free of charge.”

“Tel Aviv University and the Technion will now be able to reach students in Israel and around the world, and better spread their knowledge and expertise to thousands of people,” she added.

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