The New York Times profiles Coursera, an online learning resource that has partnered with major research universities to deliver higher education courses.
Currently, the joint venture doesn't have a revenue stream and there are some obstacles to overcome to make this more mainstream. However, many education observers think this model may be the wave of the future.
As part of a seismic shift in online learning that is reshaping higher education, Coursera, a year-old company founded by two Stanford University computer scientists, will announce on Tuesday that a dozen major research universities are joining the venture. In the fall, Coursera will offer 100 or more free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, that are expected to draw millions of students and adult learners globally.
Even before the expansion, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, the founders of Coursera, said it had registered 680,000 students in 43 courses with its original partners, Michigan, Princeton, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.
Now, the partners will include the California Institute of Technology; Duke University; the Georgia Institute of Technology; Johns Hopkins University; Rice University; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the University of Washington; and the University of Virginia, where the debate ov
er online education was cited in last’s month’s ousting — quickly overturned — of its president, Teresa A. Sullivan. Foreign partners include the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the University of Toronto and EPF Lausanne, a technical university in Switzerland.
And some of them will offer credit.
“This is the tsunami,” said Richard A. DeMillo, the director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech. “It’s all so new that everyone’s feeling their way around, but the potential upside for this experiment is so big that it’s hard for me to imagine any large research university that wouldn’t want to be involved.”
There are still challenges to solve, such as ensuring that test cheating can't occur online, particularly if course credits become involved. Also, the debate is still very active as to the benefits of classroom teaching versus online teaching.
In Arkansas, there is already distance learning taking place in high school classrooms that are leveraging limited teaching resources with technology.
Last year, Talk Business also profiled an exciting program underway at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis.
The ADTEC program, Arkansas Delta Training and Education Consortium, pools a number of in-state and out-of-state college and university programs into a linked-in online universe of course offerings. Click here to access the ADTEC story.