Blended Learning, Cheating, Continuing Education, Domestic, International, MOOCs, Open Source Education, Required, Startups, Technology, Universities & Colleges, Venture Capital - Written by on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 19:04 - 1 Comment

MOOC Player Coursera Lands 12 New Partner Schools & $6 Million In New Funds

The MOOC Shop
Photo Credit: Alan Levine via Compfight

In the battle of the MOOCs for supremacy, Coursera is the latest to strike.

The one-year-old for-profit company started by two faculty at Stanford University announced today that a dozen major research universities - including some from abroad - are joining the venture. It will offer 100 or more free MOOCs (massive, open, online courses) starting this fall. It aims to have millions of students learning in these programs and will rival startups like Udacity, Udemy and edX, which is a joint project of Harvard and MIT.

Coursera already had inked partnerships with Princeton, Stanford, UPenn and Michigan. It says it had 680,000 students signed up for 43 courses. Now, it will add Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Rice University, The Georgia Institute of Technology, The University of California at San Francisco, The University of Washington, The California Institute of Technology and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. It also adds The University of Virginia, which saw its president Teresa A. Sullivan dismissed and re-instated in the past month partly for her initial resistance to participate in such online offerings.

Coursera also adds foreign partners: The University of Edinburgh in Scotland, The University of Toronto and EPF Lausanne in Switzerland. Some of the new universities in the partnership will even offer credit (rivals Udacity and edX do not currently offer such credit for free, open-source classes).

Tamar Lewin at The New York Times writes:

Because of technological advances — among them, the greatly improved quality of online delivery platforms, the ability to personalize material and the capacity to analyze huge numbers of student experiences to see which approach works best — MOOCs are likely to be a game-changer, opening higher education to hundreds of millions of people.

To date, most MOOCs have covered computer science, math and engineering, but Coursera is expanding into areas like medicine, poetry and history. MOOCs were largely unknown until a wave of publicity last year about Stanford University’s free online artificial intelligence course attracted 160,000 students from 190 countries. Only a small percentage of the students completed the course, but even so, the numbers were staggering.

… So far, MOOCs have offered no credit, just a “statement of accomplishment” and a grade. But the University of Washington said it planned to offer credit for its Coursera offerings this fall, and other online ventures are also moving in that direction. David P. Szatmary, the university’s vice provost, said that to earn credit, students would probably have to pay a fee, do extra assignments and work with an instructor.

Experts say it is too soon to predict how MOOCs will play out, or which venture will emerge as the leader. Coursera, with about $22 million in financing, including $3.7 million in equity investment from Caltech and Penn, may currently have the edge. But no one is counting out edX, a joint venture of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or Udacity, the company founded by Sebastian Thrun of Stanford, who taught the artificial intelligence course last year.

Via The New York Times

George Anders at writes:

Today’s big online courses don’t yet do much to guard against surrogate test-takers or schemes in which grade-obsessed students take a course multiple times under different names, collecting answer keys until they can be confident of a perfect score. It’s possible to defend against such chicanery, though how quickly projects such as Coursera, edX and Udacity will implement them remains to be seen. Given the rapid growth in online enrollment, pressures for anti-cheating safeguards are likely to intensify

For universities, the biggest unresolved question is whether an online enrollment boom will bring extra prestige and global impact at little cost — or will be a first step toward hollowing out the time-honored but expensive world of residential higher education. It wasn’t too long ago, after all, that newspapers began giving their content away for free online, convinced that the extra readership was a bonus, rather than the first sign of a migration away from paid print publications.

Duke’s provost, Peter Lange, says he is mindful of  such financial uncertainties. “I don’t want to be giving away something valuable for free,” Lange says.  For now, he says he would like to make Duke’s instruction as easily available as possible to poor parts of the globe — but also to build eventual pay models for more affluent regions.


Ki Mae Heussner at GigaOM writes:

Online education startup Coursera isn’t just revolutionizing learning in the U.S., it’s refashioning higher education for people around the world. Since its earliest courses, Coursera’s student population has been highly international (it’s currently 35 percent domestic, 65 percent international). And, in addition to announcing $6 million in new funding, the startup Tuesday said that it’s adding its first international university partners.

Coursera’s new investment — which includes $3.7 million from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as $2.3 million from current funders New Enterprise Associates and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — brings its total funding to $22 million. The company said it was adding twelve top universities, including the University of Edinburgh, University of Toronto and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), to the list of four partners it announced in April (Princeton, Michigan, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania).

One of the classes offered by EPFL, an introduction to programming course, will be taught in French, making it the platform’s first non-English language course (although other courses already include captions with translations).  Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng said the top non-U.S. countries represented by students on the platform have been Russia, India, the UK and Brazil. But he said he was especially pleased that the French language class would make Coursera more accessible to people in the poorer parts of Africa, in which the primary language is French.

Via GigaOm

Gregory Ferenstein at TechCrunch writes:

We’ve been critical of online education in the past, arguing that video lectures, even enhanced with some interactivity, still propagate the antiquated memorization-obsessed education standards of the 20th century. While Coursera isn’t looking to revamp education, students can have confidence that online learning is a quality experience, as a review of research by the Department of Education found that students learning online performed as well as those in physical classrooms.

Coursera has no immediate plans for monetization, but is mulling ideas like selling certifications. Their newest equity funding round comes from “two universities, as well as additional investment from current investors New Enterprise Associates and Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers Education,” according to a press release. Education is a big (big) market, and as college costs outpace many Americans’ ability to pay tuition, the market will be ripe for a leader.

Via TechCrunch


1 Comment

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

MOOCs, Coursera, Online Education and Performing Innovation « tressiemc
Jul 19, 2012 15:26

[...] I mean, good Lord, the  moon landing didn’t get this much hype. [...]

Leave a Reply


Campus Buzz

We welcome Tips & Pitches

Latest WA Original Features

  • Twitter feed loading

APEI41.49  chart+1.29  chart +3.21%
APOL19.31  chart+0.30  chart +1.58%
AAPL459.99  chart-0.17  chart -0.04%
BPI11.06  chart+0.32  chart +2.98%
CAST0.11  chart0.00  chart +0.00%
CECO4.18  chart+0.10  chart +2.45%
COCO2.395  chart-0.005  chart -0.21%
CPLA32.90  chart+0.87  chart +2.72%
DV32.06  chart+1.37  chart +4.46%
EDMC3.95  chart-0.08  chart -1.99%
ESI19.10  chart+0.76  chart +4.14%
GOOG806.85  chart+13.96  chart +1.76%
LINC6.43  chart+0.23  chart +3.71%
LOPE25.56  chart+0.53  chart +2.12%
PEDH0.45  chart0.00  chart +0.00%
PSO18.67  chart+0.16  chart +0.86%
SABA8.83  chart+0.22  chart +2.56%
SCHL31.05  chart+0.18  chart +0.58%
STRA52.27  chart+0.32  chart +0.62%
WPO418.85  chart+4.44  chart +1.07%
2013-02-19 16:00

Domestic, For-Profit, Gainful Employment, Infographics, Personalized Learning, Private, Public, Required, Universities & Colleges - Jan 31, 2013 6:09 - 0 Comments

Infographic: To Get A Degree Or Not To Get A Degree? Here Is An Answer

More In For-Profit

MOOCs, Required, Technology - Feb 16, 2013 10:04 - 1 Comment

MOOC Monitor: Must Reads This Week

More In Technology

Cost of Education, Domestic, Early Childhood Education, Education Quality, Friend, Fraud, or Fishy, Legislation, Minorities, Parents, Public, Required - Feb 18, 2013 4:59 - 0 Comments

Important Early Questions Over Obama’s Early Childhood Program Ambitions

More In Friend, Fraud, or Fishy