The world of online education is quickly becoming very populated, and this is due to the innovative creations of those that are interested in making education available to anyone willing to put in the time and effort to study. Coursera is one of the platforms that were designed for precisely this purpose, and the popularity of the program speaks for itself; there are now more than 1 million students making use of this platform worldwide, and since it has only just been established, this is truly just the beginning of what might be an education revolution.
The Creation of Coursera
Coursera was created by two professors within Stanford University – Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller – who wanted to be able to educate the world; and it seems as if they are well on their way to reaching their objective. The platform itself has been developed to become the basis for courses offered by universities all over the world, and some of the most renowned institutions have attached their names to this initiative, including Penn State.
So far, there are around 16 institutions which are making their courses available through Coursera, and all students need to begin signing up for classes is a computer and an internet connection. The courses are available at no cost, and there are around 116 different ones that students can choose from, ranging from the social sciences to chemistry. The fact that the offerings are so varied means that students have the ability to enhance their knowledge in a field that is of a particular interest to them; something which was previously not possible to those with financial, geographical or time constraints holding them back.
Crossing The Language Barrier
Since most of the institutions are offering their courses in English, students who are studying from all over the world might have previously found this to be a challenge, but due to the number of volunteers that have signed up and started translating the video lectures, this is no longer an issue. So far, there are about 1000 files that have been translated into about 20 different languages, and this is only the beginning.
The fact that Coursera has been able to attract 1 million students is something that was not lost on the organization; on Thursday they published a blog post celebrating this achievement, and they included some information on the statistics of the users taking advantage of these online opportunities. According to the post, the countries that are making the most of these courses, in terms of the number of students, include (in descending order); the U.S, Brazil, India, the U.K and lastly Canada.
While Coursera is still very new within the world of online education, it seems that it has hit the ground running and their 1 million users are only a small portion of the student population that will eventually benefit from their offerings. While it remains to be seen just how far they will go, one thing is for sure; they are already irreplaceable in terms of higher education and making it available to the masses.