5.5 million students taking courses at 100 universities and institutions in various parts of the world, that is the summary of a company that, with little more than a year of life, has managed to raise 20 million dollars more, adding 63 in so far this year.
Coursera was born thanks to two Stanford teachers who decided to try a new way of transmitting knowledge using the power of the Internet. Since then, hundreds of courses have been taught for free via the web for thousands of students simultaneously, a situation that, although not pedagogically best (we cannot compare a MOOC course with a face-to-face course where there is physical contact, Personalized treatment and personal and professional relationships have allowed many people to have access to knowledge that would otherwise be isolated within four walls.
The investment received now, announced on AllThingsD, shows that there is a long way to go, and that there are people who believe in that model, in offering free education and charging for extras (certified titles, for example).
Coursera is one of the best known MOOC initiatives, but it is not the only one. Udacity, which was also founded by a Stanford professor, is focusing on courses that prepare people for the professional market, primarily in the technology industry. On the other hand Edx, the nonprofit version of Coursera, born at Harvard University and MIT, now seems focused on open source MOOC tools. In Spanish there are several options, which we always discuss here, at wwwhatsnew, as we saw in the article Places to do free courses in Spanish.
Many educators are in favor of MOOCs as an alternative to offer knowledge capsules to those who do not have access to them, many others are against it, discussing the model of the Free Everything or the effectiveness of the pedagogical model followed, what is clear is that it is a protagonist in this category, and we cannot ignore it.