New company Coursera is targeting higher education by offering university-level courses from top institutions to students all over the world, all for free.
The company launched with $16 million in Series A funding and is announcing partnerships with four schools:
- Princeton University
- Stanford University
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Michigan.
Coursera will offer over 30 courses from its partner schools across a variety of disciplines, including computer science, sociology, medicine, and math.
A selection of the classes:
- Fantast and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World
- Modern and Contemporary American Poetry
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms
- Introduction to Sociology
- Social Network Analysis
- Listening to World Music
- Introduction to Genome Science
Classes typically last for five to ten weeks, and during that time students commit to watching the lectures, and completing interactive quizzes and assignments, which are auto-graded or graded by peers. Upon completion, the student receives a statement of accomplishment, a letter from the professor, and a score, but the course doesn’t count for any actual credit with that specific institution. The site also features a Q&A forum where students can ask questions about the course material and get answers from fellow students.