In part two of this review; we will examine the specific content delivery mechanics and interfaces that Coursera uses. This includes video lecture tools, how homeworks are presented, and how students interact with the course. We will also see that Coursera has provided a lot of flexibility, giving teachers a lot of power in how they design and manager their course.
Coursera is part of the movement to make a free, high quality education available to everyone in the world. They are a platform for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which take the curriculum and materials from existing University courses and scales them to reach tens of thousands of students at once. Started in Fall 2011 by Stanford University, Coursera now partners with over 60 universities and offers hundreds of courses in subjects such as Business, Medicine, Art, Engineering, Computer Science, and more.
I actually sat down to write a review on the Coursera platform several months ago, only to find that the interface and site design had literally changed over night. Much like other recent MOOC platforms such as edX, they are continually working on the technical challenges of handling thousands of students at once without diminishing the quality of the material. This results in constant improvements and iterations to the site design, especially since it is so new.
Where Coursera differs from edX, is that Coursera is a for profit company with an aim to developing premium content and services to support the site.
This review is based on several classes I took during the Summer/Fall of 2012. Similar to my MITx review, we will take a look at Corsera by examining the platform, the content delivery model, and how their philosophies effect the overall MOOC experience.