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Online Education Venture Lures Cash Infusion and Deals With 5 Top Universities

By New York Times

April 18, 2012

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Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller recently received $16 million in venture capital funding and formed partnerships with five universities to form Coursera, a free online learning system.

Ng and Koller say Coursera is a Web portal for distributing a broad array of interactive courses in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. The five universities working with Coursera include Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University. "When we offer a professor the opportunity to reach 100,000 students, they find it remarkably appealing," Koller says.

Ng and Koller were motivated to launch Coursera by the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of students instead of just hundreds. "We decided the best way to change education was to use the technology we have developed during the past three years," Ng says.

Coursera breaks lectures into segments as short as 10 minutes and offers quick online quizzes as part of each segment. Coursera also offers an online feature that enables students to get support from the global student community. During testing, the researchers found that questions were typically answered in less than 22 minutes.

From New York Times
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