The MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been gaining quite some momentum and the timing is ripe too. A lot of users just need an internet connection to access such quality education. Coursera is one such popular MOOC provider. It has been gaining a lot of attention and online users and in its current stunt, it has been able to raise around $43 million in funding. Ventures from MIT, Harvard, Princeton and other Ivy league universities have been focusing on providing courses online.
It’s Raining Funds
Coursera’s roots go back to Stanford, where two computer science professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller took the initiative to take provide classes to the masses. Ng experimented with providing computer science classes online. Initially it raised around $22 million in funding while setting up and adding it up to date it has secured around $65 million.
The coursera founders claim that Coursera not be considered an alternative to college studies. Instead they should be taken as extra courses by an individual to learn more and take those subjects, of which they cannot afford to pay the skyrocketing tuition fees cost. These courses however do supplement the current college courses that students take.
“The movement is still relatively young, but I’m pleased we’re seeing so many of the best universities committing to teach online classes. This proves we’re no passing fad.”Ng stated in an interview.
A Big Following
Coursera currently collaborates together with 83 educational institutions and provides around 400 free courses and boasting around providing content to 4 million students around the world. Koller’s focus is on marketing Coursera in the developing world and focus on their universities. She is a strong supporter for women empowerment and is pushing towards providing women with education. “If you want to improve a society, the most significant thing you can do is educate its girls [and]we are committed to that,” she stated.
Authenticity and Certification
Coursera is experimenting with traditional publishers and planning to provide digital textbooks to its students, however, this is still in its infancy stage. Coursera raised $43 million in Series B funding from GSV capital, the investment arm of the World Bank, Laureate Education Inc., Learn Capital and Yuri Milner, as well as previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. Coursera generates revenue by providing students with certification which states clearly that they have passed the course. This certification is for a small fees and ensures that the value of Coursera courses is of the highest standards.
“If you talk to people in the know, there are relatively few sectors that have not yet been transformed by technology — arguably, healthcare, government, education and maybe energy. You basically run out. I think we are now at a point where we can make a significant change both in terms of access and quality.” Koller stated while affirming belief that quality education is the key. Coursera currently has 50 employees on its payroll and it plans to double the number this year.
Coursera is nearly just a year old and credits its climb to fame to its massive funding injections that it has been generously receiving from its investors. This could only be possible if Coursera is considered a preferred destination for students to log in and enroll in free courses of their choice.