Today, Coursera announced a bundle of new partnerships with universities that will share their courses via Coursera’s platform. With 17 new universities added, including Brown, Wesleyan, Columbia, and several schools outside the U.S., Coursera has now partnered with a total of 33 universities and offers around 200 courses. For a full list of partners, visit https://www.coursera.org/universities.
Students can explore a variety of subjects via the site, including biology, education, computer science, math, medicine, music and more.
This new expansion furthers Coursera’s credibility after partnering with Princeton, Stanford and other top colleges early on. The New York Times even reported that this is causing a ripple effect as universities feel more pressure to join the trend and sign on. The president of Ohio State was quoted saying:
“You’re known by your partners, and this is the College of Cardinals,” said E. Gordon Gee, the president of Ohio State, one of the new partners. “It’s some of the best universities in the country.”
Despite enthusiasm around the news, some fear the growing availability of MOOCs (massive open online courses) may devalue traditional diplomas earned at brick-and-mortar institutions. EdSurge covered the news noting that Brown’s campus newspaper expressed some concerns about the partnership; some students worry “the courses could represent shoddy imitations of the classroom experience.”
However, the fact that Coursera is plowing forward with more partnerships is a sign that online education is on the path to become more mainstream. While institutions have yet to figure out how to incorporate online course offerings into their revenue stream and are still deciding whether to offer credit for certain courses or not, these are questions they will need to answer soon. Online education is becoming a reality whether universities are ready for it or not.