In a recent newsletter from the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE), I learned that there is an innovative startup, Coursera, which offers free on-line classes with over 80 international universities in several languages. There are over 300 courses in their current catalogue!
Education for Everyone
TechCrunch “picked Coursera as the 2012 Crunchies’ “Best Overall Startup,” because more than anything else our country is heading into a period where higher education and job training is not catching up with the pace of innovation, where the creative part of “creative destruction” has not yet overwhelmingly kicked in. And Coursera, which has opened up access to proprietary content, over 200 courses from over 33 top international and domestic schools like Stanford and Princeton, is one of the bright points of light pointing towards value and job creation in the creative space.”
The Coursera Method
Coursera is a two-pronged approach to democratization of education, not only offering access to high quality content for students that can’t afford it, but also by making professors look good, by empowering them to build their own audience. Coursera gives them the opportunity to build an audience outside of the classroom, allowing them to have 10,000 students instead of 50.”
Per Coursera, “courses are designed based on sound pedagogical foundations, to help you master new concepts quickly and effectively. Key ideas include mastery learning, to make sure that you have multiple attempts to demonstrate your new knowledge; using interactivity, to ensure student engagement and to assist long-term retention; and providing frequent feedback, so that you can monitor your own progress, and know when you’ve really mastered the material.”
How Coursera Works
What Courses Am I Considering?
- Human Computer Interaction (Stanford)
- Introduction to Logic (Stanford)
- Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity (Stanford)
- Genes and the Human Condition (University of Maryland)
- Fantasy and Science Fiction (University of Michigan)
- Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Duke)
Per Coursera, “We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.
Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.”