Coursera and the U.S. government recently launched a partnership to create learning hubs around the world where students can go to get Internet access to free courses supplemented by weekly in-person class discussions with local teachers or facilitators. The hubs represent a new stage in massively open online courses (MOOCs), addressing the lack of reliable Internet access in some countries, as well as the conviction that students do better if they can discuss course materials, and occasionally meet with a teacher.
The U.S. Department of State recently ran a pilot project using Coursera courses to open space where people could take free online courses in priority fields, such as science, technology, Americana, and entrepreneurship. "We have a list of MOOCs from different providers that we suggest, but Coursera has had a unique interest in working with us to collect the data to understand the learning outcomes from facilitated discussions, and has given us additional materials to give out to the facilitators," says the State Department's Meghann Curtis.
Coursera now has 100 university partners and has developed a network of translators who are making the materials in some courses available in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Kazakh, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Ukrainian.
From The New York Times
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