More top-tier US universities join ventured-back MOOC initiative

April 18, 2012

Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor are joining a growing group of top-tier institutions that are embracing massively open online courses (MOOCs) as the logical extension of elite PSE in an increasingly online, international landscape. The 3 universities will join Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley as partners of Coursera, a company founded earlier this year by a pair of Stanford engineering professors, and buoyed by $16 million in venture capital. Using Coursera's platform, the institutions will develop free online versions of their courses that anyone can take. The Coursera courses will be interactive, with potentially hundreds of students completing exams and assigned work that will be marked, either by intelligent software or by their peers. The institutions will own their courses. None of the universities will offer formal credit through Coursera courses; however, some might give students the chance to earn certificates bearing the names of both the institutions and the company. While there is no formal credentialing structure currently in place, some university officials indicate that a tangible recognition of the achievements of non-enrolled learners is a goal. Inside Higher Ed | Coursera