Coursera is an online platform for open-access, non-credit classes, available at no cost to audiences around the world. It is an independent company founded by two Stanford professors who developed its core technologies, many of them deployed in their own computer science classes. Coursera is dedicated to working with high-quality university partners rather than with individual instructors. There are currently 17 partner institutions, including Penn.
The platform presents a number of key opportunities for Penn. One is flexibility: our partnership is non-exclusive, faculty participation is voluntary (subject to internal approvals), and the University and instructor retain all rights to our course content. A second is public value: increasing access is at the heart of Penn’s mission, and Coursera provides an exciting opportunity to increase access, around the world, to Penn’s extraordinary educational resources. A third is pedagogical exploration and value to Penn’s students: we expect that the initiative will help develop new forms of teaching and technology – such as out-of class instruction (which may free up valuable in-class time for more hands-on learning), autograded assignments, and other innovations – that may help shape teaching and learning across our own campus.