Many Ivy League universities have put free courses online in connection with the corona crisis. These are hundreds of courses from Harvard, Princeton and Yale, among others. Coursera, which offers a wide range of online courses, will make the content available to universities free of charge. According to Coursera Chief Enterprise Officer Leah Belsky, every university worldwide is eligible, but priority can be given to those most affected by the corona virus.
Universities can register via an online portal and have free access until July 31, 2020. After that date, according to Coursera, extensions to the free service will be available. This depends on risk assessments. Students enrolling in individual classes before July 31 will have access to that content until September this year.
Belsky says that top US universities are already well prepared to transition to online learning, but many others, especially internationally, do not have the necessary infrastructure. Belsky says Coursera has already asked questions about online learning opportunities at government education agencies in Pakistan, Kurdistan and Peru.
Coursera hosts content developed by partners such as Columbia and Johns Hopkins. According to Belsky, Coursera offers “almost every course you’d find in a graduate or undergraduate curriculum,” saying that professors should find it relatively easy to transition from their own curriculum to a Coursera package in the middle of the semester.
Online learning has grown due to long-term factors such as cost and convenience, but Belsky says higher education is generally ‘slow to use’ tools like Coursera’s. She sees coronavirus as a transforming moment.
“The higher education community will take a big leap forward because of the forced experiments that are taking place during this crisis,” she says.
Coursera is a private startup and was valued at over $ 1 billion in a fundraising round in April 2019.