Twelve best universities in US and Europe on Tuesday joined an internet platform created by two Stanford University scientists that provides free online access to classes at elite institutions.
The move marks the expansion of online university teaching that will herald a shakeup of the lecture theatre model.The new participants in Coursera, which combines online lectures with assignments, include the California Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, University of California, San Francisco in the US, Edinburgh University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne.
Caltech and the University of Pennsylvania have also announced a combined $3.7m investment in Coursera.
Coursera offers classes from Princeton, the University of Michigan, Stanford, University of California, Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania.
The universities joining the platform will offer dozens of new courses in the fields of arts, computer science, health, mathematics, history, literature and other disciplines.
These classes do not credit towards degrees at the universities, but online students receive certificates for completing their studies.
Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, who founded Coursera said the move gave students “greater access than ever before to the world’s foremost subject experts.”
Learners would have to pay for the certificates that mark the completion of their courses. This revenue will be shared with the universities.
With many universities offering online lectures, observers say the rise of Coursera, marks a shift in the balance of power in higher educations.