Silicon Valley is no stranger to the online education movement, thanks to Stanford-bred education technology companies like Coursera and Udacity, not to mention a host of other startups in the field.
On Thursday, Coursera announced that it has added 1.25 million potential users to its existing roster of 3.6 million students by inking a deal with 10 state university systems looking to experiment with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
The company said in a statement that the move is meant to encourage inter-institutional swapping of new courses created by participating universities — along with those already offered by Coursera — by letting professors tailor MOOC content to their in-person classes.
The end goal? Increasing access to quality courses and bolstering completion rates at participating schools. Individual universities will then decide whether to make new courses created on the platform available to all Coursera users.
Coursera negotiates contracts directly with partner institutions and did not specify how much the company could make from the new deal. Despite $22 million in venture capital backing, Coursera has stressed repeatedly that generating revenue is overshadowed by the goal of increasing global access to education (read more about their business model here).
The education provider previously partnered with Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan to allow professors at those schools to create MOOCs for the general public. Udacity has also experimented with college partnerships, working with San Jose State University to offer remedial for-credit courses at lower costs.
It is backed by venture firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates.
“We think the coming decade will see a transformation in the way education is delivered, where teachers and online content come together to better serve students on campus and beyond,” said Coursera Co-founder Daphne Koller in the statement.
The following university systems are included in the new Coursera partnership:
State University of New York (SUNY — the nation's largest public higher education system), the Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee Systems, University of Colorado System, University of Houston System, University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska, University of New Mexico, University System of Georgia, and West Virginia University.