MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — Apr 18, 2012 – Coursera today announced that it has raised $16 million in venture capital funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Coursera also separately announced today that top-tier universities, including Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, will be offering web-based classes on the Coursera platform for free.
The funding will enable Coursera to expand its visionary education platform, grow the company, and develop more partnerships to increase their reach to students around the world. As part of the investment round, John Doerr, partner at KPCB and education reform advocate, and Scott Sandell, General Partner at NEA, have joined Coursera’s Board of Directors.
“Higher education is ripe for innovation: it is too expensive and limited to a few,” said John Doerr. “Coursera is unique in partnering with the best universities to offer free, global access to the world’s best teachers and courses. The potential is profound opportunities for personal — and economic — growth and development.”
“The global demand for higher education, coupled with generational and economic pressures, has created a massive opportunity for Coursera to make higher learning more accessible for people around the world,” said Scott Sandell. “Coursera’s platform, team and network-based approach put it at the center of what I expect to be one of the most important transformations in the history of higher education.”
Founded by Stanford Computer Science Professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, Coursera is the world’s most open, integrated higher education experience offering a wide choice of universities, courses and professors. Working at Stanford in the fall of 2011, Koller and Ng developed the university’s first online education platform, which served two courses and had a total enrollment of about 200,000. Since then, student interest has skyrocketed, and there have been more than one million total enrollments across multiple courses.
As the demand for online education grows, Coursera’s offerings of online courses from top universities and professors will reach more people worldwide than ever before. Coursera is confident that they will reach their goal of educating tens of millions of students in five years, while simultaneously transforming the approach, learning experiences and outcomes for education on a global scale.
“We see a future where world-renowned universities serve millions instead of thousands, allowing many more people to live their dreams,” said Daphne Koller. “Students learn best not by passively watching video, but by thinking, practicing and doing,” said Andrew Ng. “Our education technology is developed around these concepts, and helps busy students quickly master material.”
Features on Coursera include:
- Lecture concepts broken down into 10-15 minute video chunks that enable students to learn in bite-sized pieces and use a trajectory personalized to their interests and needs.
- Frequent interactive quizzes embedded in lecture videos that increase retention of material.
- Sophisticated auto-graded exercises that give students instant feedback and enable mastery-based learning.
- A global learning community that facilitates discussions among international students.
Visit Coursera.org to learn more and sign up for courses.