Coursera has announced partnership agreements with twelve more universities, including Caltech, Johns Hopkins, the University of Illinois, and the University of Washington. Three of its new partners are universities outside the USA — in Canada, Scotland, and Switzerland.
According to the story in the New York Times, the University of Washington plans to allow students who enroll in Coursera’s MOOCs to obtain course credit, possibly through additional assignments and interaction with an on-campus instructor.
This development is another nail in the coffin for traditional classroom instruction. Students will not pay thousands of dollars for lectures and a reading list when they can get the same content for free online, especially when that content comes from the best scholars at the best universities in the world.
At most colleges and universities, the traditional campus experience only provides a sufficient return on investment to students if it delivers what can’t be delivered online — an inverted classroom. It will become the norm for students to enroll in a MOOC, complete lessons online first, and then engage in collaborative problem-solving exercises in classes on campus.
Additional details about Coursera and the University of Washington can be found in the Seattle Times.