NY Times gives Coursera the once-over

Posted under: From the Blog 8th of January, 2013

On the front page of today’s NY Times, interesting details on Coursera- their founders, their Mountain View location and partner university experiences including costs of online course production. Uni of Melbourne get a mention.

A range of opinions, for example about the immaturity of the model and the difficulty making it pay.

Only 10% finish Coursera courses unaided. The punchline seems to be that Coursera material will find its most productive use when licensed into blended learning with faculty and other support.


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — In August, four months after Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng started the online education companyCoursera, its free college courses had drawn in a million users, a faster launching than either Facebook or Twitter.

The co-founders, computer science professors at Stanford University, watched with amazement as enrollment passed two million last month, with 70,000 new students a week signing up for over 200 courses, including Human-Computer Interaction, Songwriting and Gamification, taught by faculty members at the company’s partners, 33 elite universities…

Mr. Rock, whose university has produced 16 Coursera courses, said each one costs about $50,000 to create, the biggest expenses being the videography and paying the teaching assistants who monitor the discussion forum. The University of Pennsylvania is just beginning to think about how to recover those costs. Last fall, at the conclusion of its Listening to World Music course, for example, the university sent out a questionnaire asking students whether they would be interested in a follow-up course, what they would want to cover and how much they would be willing to pay for it.


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