Coursera, the online education platform started by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, has raised $6 million in new funding and signed its first international university partners.
So now you can not only take courses in algorithms from Princeton or Stanford, or delve into Android apps with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, you can study artificial intelligence with the University of Edinburgh or digital signal processing at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). EPFL also is offering introduction to programming in French, which pleases the site’s founders because it will provide training to poorer parts of Africa, where French is the primary language.
All the courses are free and the founders have vowed to keep it that way.
Coursera’s new U.S. partners include the University of Washington, which has yet to determine which courses it will offer. The computer science department at the U-Dub, as it’s called locally, recently was profiled in a New York Times piece, saying its reputation for turning out top-notch tech talent is growing, approaching that of Stanford.
Additional course providers include the California Institute of Technology, Duke University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins, Rice University, the University of California-San Francisco, and the University of Virginia. Michigan, Princeton, Stanford and Penn joined the Mountain View, Calif., startup in April.
The California Institute of Technology has invested $3.7 million and the University of Pennsylvania $2.3 million, along with previous investors New Enterprise Associates and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, bringing Coursera’s total funding to $22 million.
In a similar online education project, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard have teamed up in a $60 million plan called edX due to debut in the fall.
So far, students can cherry -pick among the classes, though no credits are offered. More formal courses of study are in the works to help students master a discipline or skill, with the partner universities potentially providing certificates upon completion.