TAU Launches Groundbreaking Admissions System
TAU made headlines this year when it announced a revolutionary new admissions system that will make it more accessible to all segments of the population.
The new system will redress a built-in disparity in Israel’s standardized university entrance tests. These tend to favor well-off students from the center of the country who generally
can afford costly preparatory courses that boost results, while their counterparts in Israel’s less privileged areas cannot.
Until now, all universities in Israel have admitted students based on a combination of their entrance test results and high school matriculation grades. The new system will allow applicants to receive bonus points on their overall admissions score if they receive 85% or higher on one or two online courses offered by TAU. Furthermore, if they receive 85% or higher on three TAU online courses, then these grades will entirely replace the entrance exam score when they are considered for admission.
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett applauded the new admissions criteria: “I welcome TAU’s initiative, which realizes two of our long-term goals: closing social gaps and propelling education into the 21st century.”
TAU has been a leader among Israeli universities in its development of massive open online courses (MOOCs), a trend that is gaining momentum around the world. TAU Online, the University’s Learning Innovation Center, currently offers nine online courses via Coursera and other MOOC platforms, as well as learning communities and resources for participants to maximize their pedagogical experience.
Similarly, TAU Online offers a MOOC-based learning program for high-school pupils throughout Israel to gain academic credit at TAU. To facilitate this, TAU partners with high-school teachers and municipal education departments to integrate the online courses into the classroom. “Because the entire program is conducted online, the need for physical proximity to the University is eliminated,” said Yuval Shraibman, Director of TAU Online. “Thus, we offer potential accessibility to every pupil and school in Israel.
“Our goal now is to expand and promote the program at more schools,” added Shraibman. “One aspect that requires attention is teacher training. MOOCs free teachers from frontal lectures, while opening up new opportunities for enriching the learning experience. We’re now looking for funding to train participating teachers in new methods of creative pedagogy, managing classroom dynamics, and providing personal support for each student’s style of learning. We also want to introduce many more online courses,” Schraibman said.