Last week, online education startup Coursera added 12 new university partners and raised an additional $6 million, taking venture funding to over $22 million.
Coursera is a free online education platform that offers interactive college courses. The year-old company’s intention is to make courses from world-class universities available to the public for free. Last Tuesday her dream came true or began to come true.
That day will see a dozen major universities – CalTech, Duke, University of Virginia, Georgia Tech, University of Washington, Rice, Johns Hopkins, University of California San Francisco, University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, University of Toronto, and University of Edinburgh The Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne announced its partnership with Coursera. Coursera has worked with Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan.
Coursera is one of several initiatives emerging. Harvard-MIT joint project edX and Udacity are among the other high-profile free online university startups.
“I like to compare it to film,” Sebastian Thrun told Education News. Thurn is a Stanford Professor and the founder of Udacity. “Before film there were theaters – small casting companies that reached 300 people at a time. Then celluloid was invented and you could record and replicate. A good film didn’t reach 300 but 3,000 and soon 300,000 and soon three million. That changed the economy.”
While Udacity currently only offers 11 courses, Coursera’s partner universities will offer over 100 courses this fall. Four of the courses started Monday: Listening to World Music, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Internet History and Introduction to Finance. The courses, called MOOCs or massive open online courses, can reach many more people than a traditional course; They can teach more than 100,000 students at a time, according to The Atlantic.
This number will only increase if they start translating their courses and offer courses in different languages, which is what they started. EPF Lausanne has started offering courses in French. Your “Introduction a la Programmation Objet” or Introduction to Object Programming will be offered this fall.
Opportunities for revenue for Coursera could be job placement services or fees for certificates from partner universities. The certificates, which can be PDF documents or badges that can be shared on social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+, would be branded with the university’s name and sold to the students. So far, only one university has announced that it will credit the courses – the University of Washington. For the others, the certificate would only mean the completion of the course.
Other revenue streams Coursera is considering include paying students to take identity-verified tests at designated testing locations, an option that would increase the value of the certificate to the class by validating that the student self-learned and didn’t cheat.
Coursera is also discussing offering services such as paid tutors, recruiting advertising sponsorships, and possibly charging tuition for offering online courses on university campuses. That last option is already happening as part of their partnership with the University of Washington, according to the Chronicle.
Coursera agrees to pay the universities 6 percent to 15 percent of their earnings while keeping 20 percent of gross profits. The website will be an opportunity for universities to market themselves to the community and learn about and improve their own experimentation in providing online education without having to develop the technological infrastructure themselves. Also important: The universities that design courses for Coursera retain the rights to their work.
At the moment, however, the university’s financial participation in the company is still a risk. However, it is also potentially an important investment, both for them and for the future of education itself. The Atlantic calls the Coursera initiative “the most important experiment in higher education”.
“The Lectures came about hundreds of years ago when there was only one copy of the book and the only person who had it was the professor,” Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller told The Atlantic. “The only way to convey the content was for the professor to stand in the front of the room and read the book. One would hope that we would have better options these days.”
However, as to whether Coursera will ever become a competitor to the traditional universities that offer its courses, fellow co-founder Andrew Ng believes that won’t be the case. The real value of attending elite schools like Caltech, he told The Atlantic, is the time you spend working directly with the professors and other students. Ng believes that Coursera gives schools the potential to increase this interaction by taking their lectures online.
dr Edward Tenner, a historian of technology and culture, suggests that easy access to quality college-level online education will increase competition for places at traditional top colleges. Others wonder what might happen to traditional non-Ivy League schools. According to Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor and disruptive innovation expert, half of North American higher education will go online in the next decade, with K-12 following by 2019.
While the world of online education is still evolving, initiatives like Coursera are important steps towards quality and free public higher education for all. 360 Education Solutions is excited about this innovative step in online education and hopes to have more information available to you soon.
Thanks to Janel N Spencer | #Coursera #Top #Universities #Free #Online