Online learning startup Coursera has formed partnerships with 10 public universities and university systems to develop courses that can be taken for credit either online or in a blended classroom-online environment.
By exploring new uses for massive open online courses (MOOCs), the partnership aims to improve the quality of the education, as well as expand access and increase graduation rates for up to 1.25 million students at the schools, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced Wednesday.
The hope is that the program will encourage new teaching methods, as well as enhancing existing approaches by creating a "blended learning" experience that combines online video lectures with on-campus instruction that stresses classroom engagement. The platform could also allow instructors to access already-developed content and adapt it to their own needs.
Collaborating with Coursera in the program are the State University of New York (SUNY), the Tennessee Board of Regents, University of Tennessee System, University of Colorado System, University of Houston System, University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska, University of New Mexico, University System of Georgia, and West Virginia University.
Other online education providers have already developed programs with public universities.EdX launched a not-for-profit joint venture last year with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to make education material available online for free. Udacity partnered with San Jose State University in January to offer San Jose State Plus, a pilot program that presents seemingly unlimited class size to students often hobbled by oversubscribed courses. One Udacity computer science class currently has 250,000 students enrolled.