Notre Dame to offer free course on understanding wireless

Author: Sonia Howell


The University of Notre Dame will offer its second MOOC (massive open online course) on edX, titled Understanding Wireless: Technology, Economics and Policy, beginning on Monday (May 18).

Understanding Wireless is a survey-style course that offers an opportunity to gain understanding of the technical, regulatory and economic aspects of the mobile wireless revolution and its impact on society. This not-for-credit course is intended for a broad audience, from engineers to business majors to aspiring lawyers, but students will be most comfortable if they are not intimidated by early-college mathematics. The course is entirely free and open to everyone.

Understanding Wireless will address such questions as: How do mobile smartphones and tablets convert digital information to and from electromagnetic signals in the radio frequency spectrum? How do radio designers and spectrum regulators avoid harmful interference within a network or among different wireless services? Is television band spectrum or cellular spectrum more valuable to society? How do you build a radio transmitter and receiver, or develop a business plan for a wireless network deployment in your hometown?

Unlike other MOOCs, Understanding Wireless offers students in the U.S. and Canada an opportunity to receive $5,000 to implement their project plan to use wireless technology to improve their local community based on what they learned from the course. Submissions will be judged according to their potential impact, feasibility and creativity. Students from the U.S. and Canada interested in partaking in this competition must enroll in the verified certificate. The finalists will be flown to the Notre Dame campus in September where they will compete for the $5,000 prize. During the visit, a winner will be chosen by leading experts in the corporate wireless industry. The competition is sponsored and organized solely by the University of Notre Dame. While the course is offered on the edX platform, edX is not involved in sponsoring or administering any aspect of the competition.

The course will be taught by an interdisciplinary team of Notre Dame professors that includes Patricia Bellia, William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Law; Nicholas Laneman, founding director of the Notre Dame Wireless Institute and associate professor of engineering; Aaron Striegel, associate professor of computer science and engineering; and Barry Keating, Jesse H. Jones Professor of Finance.

“Our goal at edX is to offer innovative, engaging courses from the best universities and institutions in the world to learners everywhere,” Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, said. “This course from Notre Dame provides a unique opportunity to engage learners and encourage them to apply the learnings from the course to improve their local community. We are thrilled to offer Understanding Wireless on this spring.”

To register for “Understanding Wireless,” sign up here.

Notre Dame announced in June 2014 that it was joining the edX Consortium as a charter member. A not-for-profit partnership of leading global universities, edX is committed to innovations in online and blended learning, improving access to education and researching effective learning for use on and beyond college campuses.

EdX members offer numerous open online courses to learners worldwide in a range of academic areas, including engineering, the humanities, natural sciences, computer science and public health. Notre Dame uses edX courses — along with educational media, innovative tools and strategies and the data they yield — in the service of effective teaching and learning.

The next two Notre Dame MOOCs are “Jesus in Scripture and Tradition” (June 1) and “Math in Sports” (June 15).

Contact: Sonia Howell, 574-631-1061,

Originally published by Sonia Howell at on May 13, 2015.