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More Universities Agree to Offer Free Online Courses



By Catherine Groux
Posted July 17, 2012 10:00 AM

A dozen schools just formed partnerships with online education company Coursera.
A dozen schools just formed partnerships with online education company Coursera.
Today, 12 universities across the U.S. announced that they have formed a partnership with Coursera, a year-old company that offers hosting services for massively open online courses (MOOCs). According to Coursera's blog, these schools include the University of Virginia, Johns Hopkins University, Duke University and the California Institute of Technology.

With its original partner schools, including Princeton and Stanford universities, about 700,000 students from 190 countries have participated in classes on Coursera, the company's blog states. However, through its 12 new partners, Coursera will be able to offer students more than 100 courses, leading to what many academic experts predict will be an explosion of online education.

"This is a tsunami," Richard A. DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech, told The New York Times. "It's all so new that everyone’s feeling their way around, but the potential upside for this experiment is so big that it’s hard for me to imagine any large research university that wouldn’t want to be involved."

So far, students have not been able to earn academic credit for completing MOOCs through Coursera, but this could change in the future, as the University of Washington plans to offer credit this fall, the Times reports. To earn credit, students will most likely have to pay a fee, complete extra assignments and coordinate with a professor.

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