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Coursera bringing online courses to 64-campus SUNY university system

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blackboard (SHUTTERSTOCK)
blackboard (SHUTTERSTOCK)

Online education provider Coursera is partnering with 10 more university systems and schools, including The State University of New York (SUNY), to explore how massively open online courses (MOOCs) can be used on campus. Coursera says that the partnership will give professors the option of presenting MOOCs in a classroom environment, allowing them to see how the online material works alongside traditional teaching. MOOCs are still a young form of learning — they've been closely watched and frequently criticized — and even Coursera appears to regard this online integration as an experiment to see how the new medium can best be utilized.

With this announcement, Coursera now has 80 partnering schools and university systems. But importantly, the new 10 are all state and public institutions, which should help in expanding the platform beyond its private school roots. Coursera suggests that MOOCs could serve as for-credit courses, and SUNY — which currently enrolls nearly half of a million students — believes that one day students could earn upward of 1/3 of their credits from outside sources, such as MOOCs. The partnerships will also allow these universities to publish lessons on the Coursera platform. All courses are currently offered for free on Coursera, however the company is for-profit, unlike its competitor edX, a collaboration between Harvard and MIT.