Coursera, Inc.
Coursera company logo, square, blue background, white lettering coursera-logo-square.png
Coursera homepage.png
Coursera's homepage in March 2016
Type of site
Online education
Available inEnglish, Hindi, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Hebrew, German, Italian
HeadquartersMountain View, California
Founder(s)Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller
Key peopleJeff Maggioncalda (CEO)
Employees280 (June 2018)
Alexa rankPositive decrease 642 (April 2018)[1]
Users33 million (June 2018)[2]
LaunchedApril 2012; 7 years ago (2012-04)
Current statusActive

Coursera (/kərˈsɛrə/) is an American online learning platform founded by Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller that offers massive open online courses (MOOC), specializations, and degrees.

Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, specializations, and degrees in a variety of subjects, such as engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and others.

As of June 2018, Coursera had more than 33 million registered users[3] and more than 2,400 courses.[4] As of August 2019 the number of course offerings was 3,600.[5]



Coursera was founded in 2012[6] by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng[7] and Daphne Koller.[8] Ng and Koller were inspired by their experiences offering their Stanford courses online in fall 2011,[9] and soon after left Stanford to launch Coursera. Princeton, Stanford, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania were the first universities to offer content on the platform.[10] Offerings have since expanded to include Specializations – collections of courses that build skills in a specific subject – as well as degrees and a workforce development product for businesses and government organizations.


The startup raised an initial $16 million funding round backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. In 2013, the World Bank Group led the Series B investment, which totaled $63 million. In 2015, EDB Investments led the Series C round of venture funding, which totaled more than $60 million. The company has secured $313.1 million in funding to date.[11]

Strategic partners[edit]

As of February 2017, the total number of partners is 149 across 29 countries. Coursera mainly works with universities and colleges, but also with governments. University partners include University of São Paulo in Brazil,[12] University of London[13] in the UK, Indian School of Business of India,[14] Yonsei University in Korea,[15] and institutions like Yale[16] and University of Pennsylvania.[17]

Product and services[edit]


Coursera courses last approximately four to ten weeks, with one to two hours of video lectures a week. These courses provide quizzes, weekly exercises, peer-graded assignments, and sometimes a final project or exam.[18] Courses are also provided on-demand, in which case users can take their time in completing the course with all of the material available at once. As of May 2015 Coursera offered 104 on-demand courses.

As of 2017 Coursera offers full master's degrees. They first started with Master's in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OMIE) from HEC Paris and Master's of Accounting (iMSA) from the University of Illinois, but have moved on to offer Master of Computer Science in Data Science and Master of Business Administration (iMBA), both from University of Illinois.[19]

Business model[edit]

In September 2013, it announced it had earned $1 million in revenue through the sale of verified certificates that authenticate successful course completion.[20] Coursera first rolled out a series of fee-based course options, which included verified credentials for completion, in 2013.[21] As of October 2015, the company had raised a total of $146.1 million in venture capital.[22]

In January 2016, Coursera rolled out fees to earn grades and assessment for "the vast majority of courses that are part of Specializations."[23] The company offers Financial Aid to people who demonstrate a need.[24]

In July 2016, the company launched an enterprise product called Coursera for Business. TechCrunch notes that the company, "opened itself to additional revenues from the lucrative corporate e-learning market, which some reports suggest was worth $12 billion in the US alone."[25] Coursera for Business customers include L’Oréal, Boston Consulting Group, and Axis Bank.

In October 2016, Coursera launched a monthly subscription model for Specializations. The company has said subscription costs will vary, "depending on the topic area."[26]

In January 2017, the company launched Coursera for Governments & Nonprofits. Coursera has announced partnerships with the Institute for Veterans & Military Families (IVMF) in the United States and entities in Egypt, Mongolia, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan.[27] In June 2017, Jeff Maggioncalda became the CEO of Coursera.[28][29][30]

In March 2018, Coursera launched six fully online degree courses including the bachelor's and master's qualifications.[31]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  2. ^ "Mary Meeker's Digital Learning Slides". Inside Higher Ed. 20 June 2018.
  3. ^ "From Founding CEO Of One Of The Largest FinTechs To CEO Of The Largest EdTech - Coursera". Forbes. 18 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Meet the 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies - 42. Coursera". 22 May 2018.
  5. ^ {{cite web|url=
  6. ^ Tamar Lewin (17 July 2012). "Universities Reshaping Education on the Web". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  7. ^ Quora. "Coursera Co-Founder Andrew Ng: AI Shouldn't Be Regulated As A Basic Technology". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
  8. ^ NPR Staff (30 September 2012). "Online Education Grows Up, And For Now, It's Free Listen·18:14". NPR. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  9. ^ Staff (August 2012). "Teaching the World: Daphne Koller and Coursera". IEEE. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  10. ^ Waters, Audrey (18 April 2012). "Coursera, the Other Stanford MOOC Startup, Officially Launches with More Poetry Classes, Fewer Robo-Graders". Hacked Education. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Coursera". Hacked Education. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  12. ^ Heim, Anna (4 October 2014). "September in Latin America: All the tech news you shouldn't miss from the past month". The Next Web. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  13. ^ Staff (19 August 2016). "New IoT and Embedded Systems courses launched on Coursera". eCampusNews. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  14. ^ Dasgupta, Brinda (9 June 2016). "Coursera and ISB launch series of investment management courses". The Economic Times. Mumbai. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  15. ^ Fairhead, Harry Connolly (12 October 2016). "Online Training For IoT Development". I-Programmer. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  16. ^ Martell, Bess Connolly (22 February 2016). "School of Music launches 'Music and Social Action' Coursera course". Yale News. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  17. ^ DQIndia Online (17 August 2016). "Coursera partners with U.S. Department of State and University of Pennsylvania". DataQuest. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  18. ^ Kamenetz, Anya (2012-08-08). "How Coursera, A Free Online Education Service, Will School Us All | Fast Company | Business + Innovation". Fast Company. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
  19. ^ Sinha, Nikhil (12 March 2017). "Coursera Launches Two New Master's Degrees from HEC Paris and the University of Illinois". Coursera. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  20. ^ Heussner, Ki Mae (12 September 2013). "Coursera hits $1M in revenue through verified certificates". Gigaom. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  21. ^ Fain, Paul (9 January 2013). "Paying for Proof". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  22. ^ Staff (9 January 2013). "Coursera: CNBC Distruptor". CNBC. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  23. ^ Staff (25 January 2016). "Coursera to Charge Fees for Previously Free Courses". EdSurge. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  24. ^ Staff (20 June 2016). "IIE to Connect Refugee Students with Online Courses through New Coursera for Refugees Program". Institute of International Education. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  25. ^ Sawers, Paul (31 August 2016). "Coursera for Business launches to tap the billion-dollar corporate e-learning market". VentureBeat. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  26. ^ Kuchler, Hannah (31 October 2016). "Education start-up Coursera shifts to monthly subscriptions". Financial Times. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  27. ^ Sawers, Paul (24 January 2017). "Coursera for governments and nonprofits launches to 'close the growing skills gap'". VentureBeat. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  28. ^ Korn, Melissa (2017-06-13). "Coursera Names Financial Engines Ex-CEO Jeff Maggioncalda as New Leader". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  29. ^ "Coursera gets a new CEO: former Financial Engines CEO Jeff Maggioncalda replaces Rick Levin". VentureBeat. 2017-06-13. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  30. ^ "Coursera hires CEO who helped his last company go public". Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  31. ^ News, The PIE. "Coursera joins ranks of online degree expansionists with six new degrees". Retrieved 2018-07-02.

External links[edit]