The recent 'Ivy League Spring' -- which is disrupting the very top echelons of higher education -- is spreading, and even toppling university presidents. The movement is gaining converts as more universities seek to get on board with free, online global classrooms.
It is now reported that Coursera, a startup built around the global classroom business model, announced partnerships with an additional 12 top universities, bringing the total to 16.
One of the new partners is the University of Virginia, which just recently removed -- but subsequently reinstated -- its president, Teresa A. Sullivan, reportedly over accusations that she was slow to move the university into the global online learning space.
SmartPlanet colleague Charlie Osborne recently reported that MITx -- the open online platform built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- is now rolling out courses, with an emphasis on greater interaction between students (no matter how many there are) and instructors.
Along with the University of Virginia and its original partners -- Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and the University of Michigan -- Coursera is also partnering with Johns Hopkins University, University of Toronto, University of Illinois, University of Washington, CalTech, Rice University, Duke University, University of California San Francisco, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Edinburgh, and Ecole PolyTechnique Federale de Lausanne.
Coursera is the brainchild of Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, who developed the university's first online education platform, which served two courses and had a total enrollment of about 200,000. Coursera also recently received $16 million in venture capital funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates.
VentureBeat's Christina Farr spoke with Ng, who observed that has surprisingly "been little resistance from current students and academic bureaucrats so far," since many courses that required enormous tuition payments to access are now available to anyone for free.
Course offerings now come from the following areas:
- Biology & Life Sciences
- Computer Science: Programming & Software Engineering
- Economics & Finance
- Health and Society & Medical Ethics
- Statistics, Data Analysis, and Scientific Computing
- Business & Management
- Computer Science: Systems, Security, Networking
- Humanities and Social Sciences
- Medicine and Veterinary Science
- Computer Science: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Vision
- Computer Science: Theory
- Electrical and Materials Engineering
- Information, Technology, and Design
- Physical & Earth Sciences
(Photo: Princeton University Office of Communications.)