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US universities to offer free online courses worldwide

Five leading US universities on April 18, 2012 announced about their mission of creating free online courses for the students across the globe through a newly introduced interactive education platform, Coursera. Coursera is an online project which aims to make higher education more affordable and accessible. This particular initiative has also received a fund of $16 million from 2 Silicon Valley venture capital firms.
Coursera will offer nearly 36 college courses next year on its website, coursera.org on varying subjects such as Greek mythology, neurology, calculus and contemporary American poetry. The classes will be framed and taken by professors of University of California at Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and the University of Michigan.
Coursera has a different approach where top university professors will take classes under their university’s name and will impart most renowned courses through taking online exams, assignments video lectures, answering the queries of students on online forums, even may be hosting office hours through video conference.
Students can take online objective type and brief answer tests. Coursera will also introduce a peer grading system to evaluate complex work such as algorithms or essays.
Here students will not receive college credit but Coursera may grant ‘certificates of completion” or transcripts at some charges.
The company may also look forward to make profits by linking recruiters with the students who have exhibited their skills in a particular domain. In return the universities participating in the program will benefit by connecting with far located alumni, raising funds from obliged online students and improving their reputation.
News: Times of India, Image 123rf

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