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New company allows thousands to take college courses for free

Four universities, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, and Stanford are all going to work with a new company which enables thousands of people to take courses for free. The company, Coursera, was started by Stanford University computer science professor Andrew Ng who decided to offer his course online.

Ng’s online students took quizzes and had access to online forums where other students, teaching assistants, and Ng interacted with each other. Over one hundred thousands students signed up to take this course.

Ng’s Stanford colleague and Coursera co founder Daphne Koller states,”By providing what is a truly high-quality educational experience to so many students for free, I think we can really change many, many people’s lives.”

Although originating with the sciences, Coursera is not limiting itself to STEM courses. University of Pennsylvania professor Al Filreis will be teaching American poetry next fall.

“In his class this fall, Filreis will discuss poetry with a small group of students while potentially thousands make comments online. Coursera is building a system like Yelp that will let these students value each others comments; the most valued and respected will rise to the top.”

Read (and listen) to the story over at NPR.

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