Education Update: Coursera Releases iPad App with 600+ Free Courses

Coursera

Proving that they are still the leader in offering massive open online courses (MOOCs), Coursera has released a beautiful native iPad app that provides access for learners on the move. The internet continues to change education and freely available MOOCs are just one example of a thriving open community.

Coursera is not alone but is the best funded and most the popular company in this field. They reportedly have raised over $80 million from a variety of business and education partners. It’s never enough to have money, but certainly it helps support a visionary team and fund an iOS app which is elegant and very functional.

Feature list from the Coursera blog announcement:

- Course browsing
- Course searching
- Course enrolling
- View personal course dashboard
- Video downloading and streaming
- Video speed changes
- Syllabus access
- Quiz-taking

While allowing students to take courses for free seems like a hard business model, Coursera is on a mission to prove doubters wrong. Once they began offering certificates of completion for a small fee, they did start to make money, but there is still a long way to go.

The current course catalog has a lot of content made available from a wide range of education institutions, which is perhaps still the biggest irony that freely offered MOOCs are coming from faculty at schools where degrees cost money.

Online learning is a much different experience than attending a class in person and I have many students that stay away from online courses. I struggled the first time I taught an online course but improved with a lot of effort and training. The truth is that Coursera is making a difference in education on a lot of different levels. Online education is improving because the expectation of quality is getting higher and the competition is steeper than ever.

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About Sam: Teacher, writer, composer, and family man. Maker of delicious Halušky. Contact me via Twitter: @Sam_Denver