Massive open online course (MOOC) provider Coursera announced a milestone — that it has partnered with over 100 academic institutions from all over the world. Coursera now offers 500 courses and boasts five million students. The online education startup recently formed partnerships with 13 new institutions representing 11 countries, bringing its total number of partners to 107, Coursera said.
In partnerships with the world's leading universities, Coursera offers online lectures as low-cost or free video courses. It allows students to access content outside the traditional lecture hall, allowing open accessibility to people around the world.
Coursera is working with elite private universities like Yale and Northwestern as well as state university systems and public university flagships, including the State University of New York (SUNY) and the University of Colorado system, writes Rebecca Grant of Venture Beat.
Coursera's recent partners include Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Eindhoven University of Technology, KoÃ§ University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), IESE Business School, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), National Geographic Society, National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), Saint Petersburg State University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, UniversitÃ Bocconi, University of Lausanne, and University of Manchester.
The new partners span countries including China, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States, according to Coursera.
"We are proud to welcome to the Coursera partnership this group of outstanding institutions from 11 different countries, demonstrating the ever-growing global impact of this movement, and providing students everywhere access to an even more diverse set of perspectives. Through these partnerships, we are particularly delighted to expand also the breadth of languages in which courses are delivered, thereby offering yet more students the opportunity to benefit from a high-quality education," Coursera Co-Founder Daphne Koller said.
Coursera is helping universities establish blended learning systems that combine in-person learning with the online delivery of content. It allow the schools to use Coursera to expand their existing database of online courses and make their educational offerings more accessible.
Educators and policymakers increasingly view MOOCs providers as the solution to the current educational crisis. Student loan debt is rising, as is tuition, and educational institutions have to come up with more accessible ways of teaching students.
Students or professionals who cannot afford to go to a full-time university or are interested in supplementing their studies can take online courses at Coursera with little investment — almost all courses are free.
Coursera intends to help universities explore new ways to teach and learn through the online delivery of content.
Colleges and universities are realizing that it's not the best use of resources to have multiple instructors teaching the same introductory calculus class when Coursera has an accredited online version. This would free up time for professors to teach specialized courses, or engage with students one-on-one.
Founded in 2012, Coursera secured $65 million in a year to fund its expansion. Coursera's competitors include Udacity, Udemy, and Khan Academy.