Offering free courses at some of the countries most prestigious universities, Coursera launched this week with the help of a $16 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and New Enterprise Associates. Partner schools include Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan.
“Online educational marketplaces are on the rise, with tools like Udemy and Khan Academy allowing people of all ages to become an expert in any topic,” Betakit reports. “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 was started by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, who developed the technology in order to offer Stanford classes online. With its launch partners on board, Coursera will offer over 30 courses across a variety of disciplines, including computer science, sociology, medicine, and math.
According to Koller, the startup eventually plans to development a monetization model, but what form it will take he didn’t say. For the time being, Coursera is benefiting from partner schools willingness to give away their rarified content -- something that, as Koller tells Betakit -- they’re happy to do, as “the true value proposition for universities is in the social interaction and the intellectual engagement that happens as part of that institution.”