|Type of site||Online education|
|Available language(s)||English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, German,and Italian|
|Users||5.2 million (October 2013)|
|Owner||Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller|
|Created by||Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller|
|Alexa rank||1947 (October 2013[update])|
Coursera // is a for-profit educational technology company offering massive open online courses (MOOCs) founded by computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller from Stanford University. Coursera works with universities to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, and other areas. On December 17, 2013, Coursera introduced its official mobile app for iPhone,.
The contract between Coursera and participating universities contains a "brainstorming" list of ways to generate revenue, including certification fees, introducing students to potential employers and recruiters (with student consent), tutoring, sponsorships and tuition fees. In September 2013 it announced it had earned $1 million in revenue through verified certificates that authenticate successful course completion. As of July 2013 the company had raised $65 million in venture capital. John Doerr suggested that people will pay for "valuable, premium services". Any revenue stream will be divided, with schools receiving a small percentage of revenue and 20% of gross profits.
In January 2013, Coursera announced that the American Council on Education had approved five courses for college credit. As the journalist Steve Kolowich noted "whether colleges take the council's advice, however, is an open question." The courses that were recommended to degree-granting institutions for college credit are:
- Algebra from the University of California, Irvine
- Pre-Calculus, from the University of California, Irvine
- Introduction to Genetics and Evolution from Duke University
- Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach from Duke University
- Calculus: Single Variable from the University of Pennsylvania
Coursera will offer proctored exams at the end of these courses through ProctorU, an online proctoring service that connects proctors and students via webcam. The service will cost $60–$90.
Coursera reduces the cost of courses it offers by using instant computer-based marking where appropriate, making students grade their peers' homework in some cases where computer-based marking cannot be used, such as for poetry composition exercises and employing statistical methods to validate the assessment.
The website provides free online courses including Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, Computer Science, and others. Each course includes short video lectures on different topics and assignments to be submitted, usually on a weekly basis. In most humanities and social science courses, and other assignments where an objective standard may not be possible, a peer review system is used.
Web forums are provided for courses, and some students also arrange face to face study meet-ups using meetup.com, or online meetups. However, the Coursera Honor Code prohibits copying answers, therefore the discussion should not exchange answers but should practice a healthy debate.
More than 100 courses were offered in Fall 2012. A Swiss University partner, EPFL, offers French courses. It was announced in November 2012 that Coursera would work with the American Council on Education (ACE) to evaluate credit equivalency for the Coursera courses. In 2014, a French business school will offer a course "Understanding Europe", under the supervision of Alberto Alemanno, that will be recognized as official source of information by the European Commission.
Coursera started in 2012 working with Stanford University, Princeton, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania. 12 partners were added in July 2012 followed by 17 more in September 2012. In February 2013, the company announced another 29 partner universities. The current total number of partners is 107.
Coursera runs the nginx web server on the Linux operating system on the Amazon Web Services platform. Data is stored in Amazon S3, and site search is handled by CloudSearch that indexes over 4.3 million documents on the site. Each month Coursera's database servers (running on RDS) answer 10 billion SQL queries, and Coursera serves around 500TB of traffic per month.
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