If you were skeptical about the whole Ivy League online education thing catching on when you heard about edX, you may be surprised to learn that Coursera, an online education startup lead by two Stanford professors, just formed partnerships with 12 top universities to provide free online courses to the masses, according to The Huffington Post.
The universities that will now be providing free online courses to Coursera users are: Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, California Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Rice University, University of Illinois, UC San Francisco, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Toronto, University of Edinburgh, and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.
Since April of this year, Coursera users have had access to select courses from Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and Princeton University. The addition of courses from the 12 new university partners will allow Coursera to provide its users with 125 free college courses. Coursera gives online students access to videos of lectures, class materials, exercises, and tests. Students can use Coursera to learn at their own pace and gain valuable knowledge from some of the world’s greatest professors and thinkers.
Interestingly, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, the two Stanford University founders of Coursera, have mentioned in a few different interviews that they don’t want to compete with top universities but want to work with them to make a first-rate education available to everyone. Ng and Koller claim that online education will never fully be able to replace the experience that offline education provides in terms of intellectual interaction with classmates and professors. Coursera’s founders hope that their online course offerings will help empower more people with the knowledge they need to truly thrive.
Coursera recently raised $6 million dollars in funding from investors, but no one’s exactly sure yet of how the organization plans to monetize what it’s doing, especially since it offers courses for free. Since students can’t currently take Coursera’s courses for credit or receive any sort of proof that they’ve taken a course from the organization, some speculate that Coursera may charge for course completion certificates in the future. So, taking courses from the organization would still be free, but you would have to pay if you wanted proof that you completed a course.
Offering courses from the world’s best schools is still a relatively novel idea. It will definitely be interesting to see how education startups like Coursera and edX change education as we know it in the future.
– By Alvina Lopez
Alvina Lopez has freelanced about education throughout her career. As technology and education converge, Alvina hopes to guide her readers as they search for online college programs that have the potential to jumpstart their careers and change their lives. She primarily contributes to www.accrediteonlinecolleges.com. She welcomes feedback at email@example.com.