Coursera The Online University is an extremely new and relatively unknown MOOC- Massive Open Online Course.
It consists of online educational video lectures with pauses for students to complete questions and is structured like a physical university course with weekly lessons, homework and grades. founded earlier 2012 by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, professors of Stanford University, California when they recognised how quickly education costs were rising and how few university places there were in other parts of the world. In the USA, university costs have risen by 559% since 1985.
Their aim with Coursera was to provide the best courses from the best lecturers to the masses and for free so that everybody has access to higher education. This aim isn’t just to pass on information, but to fuel people’s creativity and encourage a desire for further learning. The founders soon discovered that online communities were forming and students were actually meeting up to create their own study groups, again, much like a “real” university course. At present, Coursera are running 121 courses from 16 universities to over a million students.
This is an increase from 43 courses, 4 universities and 640,000 students in a matter of 6 months! (https://www.coursera.org) Due to the number of students currently on a Coursera course, the work is peer-graded, but, by using common incorrect responses in tests and pop-questions, they have developed lots of different explanations to individualise the educating experience. For more information, watch co-founder, Daphne Koller’s TED talk http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education.html