Coursera, a start-up online education company that has enrolled 1.35 million students in its free online courses since it began just five months ago, is now more than doubling, to 33, its partners, universities that will offer classes on its platform. All together, Coursera will provide more than 200 free “massive open online courses,” known as MOOCs.
The new partners include two more Ivy League institutions, Brown University and Columbia University; a liberal arts college, Wesleyan University; specialized institutions like the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; public research universities like the University of Florida; and more international schools like the University of Melbourne, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Coursera的新合作伙伴包括布朗大学(Brown University)和哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)两所常春藤联盟(Ivy League)高校、专业院校西奈山医学院(Mount Sinai School of Medicine)、公立研究型大学佛罗里达大学(University of Florida)以及墨尔本大学(University of Melbourne)、耶路撒冷希伯来大学(HebrewUniversity of Jerusalem)和香港科技大学等国际化学院。
The caliber of Coursera’s partners — Princeton, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania were among the original partners — has given it credibility and cachet in higher education circles, so much so that some university presidents have begun to fret that it will reflect badly on them if they fail to sign on.
原有合作伙伴则包括普林斯顿(Princeton)、斯坦福(Stanford)和宾夕法尼亚大学(University of Pennsylvania)。这些院校的实力让Coursera在高等教育领域获得了信任，也树立了威望，而且信任之深、威望之高让一些大学校长开始担心，如果不和Coursera签约合作自己学校的声誉就会受到影响。
“You’re known by your partners, and this is the College of Cardinals,” said E. Gordon Gee, the president of Ohio State, one of the new partners. “It’s some of the best universities in the country.”
俄亥俄州立大学(The Ohio State University)是Coursera的新合作者之一，校长E·戈登·吉(E. Gordon Gee)说：“从合作伙伴就能看出一家公司怎么样，而Coursera的合作伙伴群体简直就是红衣主教团，其中包括一些美国最好的大学。”
Mr. Gee, whose university will offer two courses from its College of Pharmacy, said he had some concerns about giving away content with no revenue stream in sight.
“That does keep me up at night,” he said. “We’re doing this in the hope and expectation that we’ll be able to build a financial model, but I don’t know what it is. But we can’t be too far behind in an area that’s growing and changing as fast as this one.”
Columbia will start on Coursera with two engineering courses, according to the provost, John Coatsworth, but expects to expand to more courses in a variety of fields over the next year.
The new courses will range broadly from Mount Sinai’s three classes on systems biology to Berklee College of Music’s four: introduction to guitar, introduction to improvisation (with the Grammy Award winner Gary Burton), introduction to music production and songwriting.
新课程覆盖面很广，其中包括西奈山医学院的三门系统生物学课程和伯克利音乐学院(Berklee College of Music)的四门课程——吉他入门、即兴演奏入门（格莱美奖得主加里·伯顿[Gary Burton]将参与授课）、音乐制作入门和歌曲谱写。
“We’ve also been about expanding the reach of the college,” said Debbie Cavalier, Berklee’s vice president for online learning. “We’ve always had some kind of free online offers, and we couldn’t be more excited about this.”
Coursera’s explosive growth shows no sign of leveling off. It enrolled its millionth student on Aug. 9; less than six weeks later, the student ticker on the Web site passed 1.35 million. The students come from 196 countries, with about a third from the United States and the next largest contingents from Brazil and India.
A report from Moody’s Investors Service last week predicted that the rise of MOOCs might help leading universities reach more students, bolster their reputation and eventually generate revenue from distributing content or issuing certificates. The report warned, however, that the growing popularity of free online courses could be a problem for small local colleges and for-profit institutions.
穆迪投资者服务(Moody’s Investors Service)上周公布的一份报告预计，MOOC的兴起可能有助于顶尖高校扩大受众范围，提高声望并最终通过提供教学内容或颁发证书的方式获得收入。但报告警告称，免费在线课程越来越受欢迎可能会给小型地方院校和盈利性大学带来一些问题。
Coursera was founded by two Stanford computer science professors, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, who are on leave. (Another Stanford computer scientist, Sebastian Thrun, whose Stanford course on artificial intelligence last year had 160,000 students, is the co-founder of Udacity, another thriving MOOC company.)
Coursera由两名斯坦福计算机教授——达芙妮·科勒(Daphne Koller)和吴恩达(Andrew Ng)创建。两人目前都在休假。（另一名斯坦福计算机科学家塞巴斯蒂安·特龙[Sebastian Thrun]是另外一家MOOC公司Udacity的联合创始人，这家公司也在蓬勃发展。特龙在斯坦福的人工智能课程去年吸引了16万名学生。）
Although Stanford remains one of Coursera’s partners, the university is also experimenting with other approaches to massive online courses. Those include a newly developed open-source platform of its own, Class2Go, which will offer classes next month on computer networking and solar cells, fuel cells and batteries.
“We really want to see what works,” said John C. Mitchell, the recently appointed vice provost for online learning at Stanford. “We’ve started out in one direction with Coursera — which is a great company, and it’s great working with them — but it’s not clear that the current mode of producing courses is where we’re going to end up in five years.”
负责斯坦福在线教育事务的新任副教务长约翰·C·米切尔(John C. Mitchell)说：“我们真的想看到这些工作能取得成效。一方面我们从Coursera着手，这是家很棒的公司，跟他们合作感觉非常好，但还不能确定五年后我们最终采用的就是现在的授课模式。”
Many faculty members, he said, expressed a preference for offering online courses internally, on an open-source platform like Class2Go. Stanford has also offered a technology entrepreneurship MOOC on a third platform, Venture Lab. Ultimately, he said, different schools at Stanford may choose different approaches.
A revenue stream may not be long in the making. Mr. Mitchell said he could imagine licensing courses, with other colleges paying a fee to use the material, just as they would for a textbook.