The Online Learning Revolution Is Underway

Changing the face of learning in higher education: The online learning revolution kicked off this week when the Ministry for Social Equality, Digital Israel, CHE and PBC, and the Ministry of Education announced the selection of the 44 winning courses, which for the first time will receive government funding and be produced in a digital format, with high quality video and advanced interactive features.

Minister of Education and CHE Chairman Naftali Bennett said, “Online access to academic learning is not just another step, it’s a social revolution. We will provide students from peripheral areas access so that they can learn at home and bridge the gap created by distance, with the help of the finest lecturers from around the entire country. This will enable us to overcome one of the most significant issues that leads to gaps in academia, namely the issue of making the center of the country accessible to peripheral areas.”

Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel said, “This is a true revolution that will make higher education accessible to all Israeli citizens, both in the periphery and in the center. Online academic courses will provide real equal opportunity to all young Israelis who want a higher education and to significant roles in the workforce. The digital courses will allow students to study at their own time, pace and place, and when registering, it will allow them to make educated decisions on the department and field that is best for them. Removing barriers and leveraging digital tools for true social change is the purpose of the national initiative, Digital Israel, spearheaded by the Ministry for Social Equality.”

PBC Chairperson, Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, stressed that the CHE and PBC have defined promoting innovation in teaching as a key objective in the work plan for the coming years. She said, “The online courses will improve the quality of academic teaching in Israel by refreshing the syllabus and using new and attractive digital media. Furthermore, these outstanding courses provide far-reaching and free access to Israeli academic excellence. By doing so, they will help attract new students and contribute to smarter selection of academic fields of study.

These are very high level academic courses, given by the finest lecturers from the various academic institutions in Israel on a wide range of subjects. The online courses will also enable potential students to sample a variety of introductory courses and make smart choices about what to study at institutions of higher learning.

Furthermore, online courses will give lecturers a multitude of tools and possibilities to make teaching far more engaging for students, including incorporating videos, presentations, social networks and advanced media tools.

Online courses will work like a semester-long course, with the full and active involvement of the instructor throughout the entire semester. The courses will have start and end dates, and the faculty members will be responsible for their control and management, dictating among other things the rate of progress, uploading of video clips, uploading and grading assignments, active guidance on the forums according to the weekly subject, etc. The final exam to determine that students have met the requirements will be held at the academic institution.

This format ensures that students are committed to meeting the various deadlines for submission of assignments and earning minimum grades in order to complete the course successfully and receive their certificate of completion.

The total budget is approximately NIS 20 million, and the goal is to offer the courses free of charge to students and the general public – in Israel and worldwide. The courses will be produced in Hebrew and Arabic, and some in English as well.

The courses chosen were selected following a very rigorous process conducted by the professional committees of the CHE and PBC.

The courses will be uploaded on Campus, the platform implemented by the National Digital Israel Initiative, sponsored by the Headquarters for the National Digital Israel Initiative of the Ministry for Social Equality and in conjunction with the CHE and PBC. The platform is based on Open edX, from Harvard and MIT.


The following are among the academic courses selected:

Introduction to Physics

Organic Chemistry

Machine Learning

Introduction to General Chemistry

Introduction to Psychological Science

History of Modern Israel

Geriatrics and Gerontology

Israeli Architecture

Key Concepts in Chemistry

Window to Computer Science

Understanding the Plant Kingdom


War and Peace in Ancient and Contemporary Islam

Challenges in Education in the Postmodern Era

Introduction to Educational Philosophy

Introduction to Teaching Thinking