Providers Of Free MOOC’s Now Charge Employers For Access To Student Data

Providers of free online courses are officially in the headhunting business, bringing in revenue by selling to employers information about high-performing students who might be a good fit for open jobs.

On Tuesday, Coursera, which works with high-profile colleges to provide massive open online courses, or MOOC's, announced its employee-matching service, called Coursera Career Services. Some high-profile tech companies have already signed up—including Facebook and Twitter, according to a post on Coursera's blog, though officials would not disclose how much employers pay for the service. Only students who opt into the service will be included in the system that participating employers see, a detail stressed in an e-mail message that Coursera sent to its nearly two million past or present students on Tuesday.

Each college offering a course through Coursera is also given the chance to opt out of the service—meaning that if a college declines, then no students in its courses can participate in the matchmaking system.

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