Coursera offers the world free online access to classes from internationally-renowned universities and professors.
There are at least 33 universities offering online courses on Coursera’s platform and more than 1.3 million students have registered on Coursera (although not all of these registrants have completed courses). The students hail from 196 countries, with about a third from the United States and the next largest contingents from Brazil and India.
Recent schools that enlisted as Coursera’s content providers include Columbia University, Vanderbilt, the Mount Sinai Medical School, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, University of British Columbia in Canada and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Courses offered are in a wide variety of disciplines including medicine, literature, history, and computer science. All together, Coursera provides more than 200 free massive open online courses.
The universities design and produce their content and retain ownership of all of their intellectual property. Coursera develops the platform and disseminates the courses to students via the platform as well as operates support free of charge.
Coursera was founded in the fall of 2011 by two Stanford University professors.
At the moment, the business model is not well defined. However, if substantial traffic is maintained, Coursera should have several possible revenue models. These potential revenue models include charging students for certificates for taking courses; leveraging its registrant’s data with recruiters; and, facilitating the licensing of one university’s content to other universities.Massive Open Online Courses,