Coursera Plans to Announce University Partners for Online Classes

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An interactive online learning system created by two Stanford computer scientists plans to announce Wednesday that it has secured $16 million in venture capital and partnerships with four major universities. The scientists, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, taught free Web-based courses through Stanford last year that reached more than 100,000 students. Now they have formed a company, Coursera, as a Web portal to distribute a broad array of interactive courses in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences and engineering. Besides Stanford, the university partners include the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton. Although computer-assisted learning was pioneered at Stanford during the 1960s, and for-profit online schools like the University of Phoenix have been around for several decades, a new wave of interest in online education is taking shape.