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Coursera is an online education company. The company was founded in 2012 by two professors at Stanford University, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, although the company's headquarters today are located near Palo Alto, California. Coursera boasts an estimated 24 million users, located in the US and all over the world.

Founders and Their Intention

Koller and Ng were both inspired to create their online learning platform by the success they had enjoyed when they offered their courses at Stanford online. Koller has received many awards and fellowships and has written over 200 referred publications, while Ng has been named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. Rick Levin is the CEO at Coursera, having joined the company in 2013.

Courses Offered

Coursera offers over 2,000 different courses, including many in such popular fields as language, business, computer science and social science. The computer courses that are available include classes in website design, programming, SEO (Search engine optimization) and app design and development, although some classes are aimed at beginners. Some of the business courses on offer on the global learning platform include leadership, project management, investment management and several courses aimed at entrepreneurs and those looking to start their own business.

Life Science and Personal Development Courses

Although many of the courses offered by Coursera are computer or business oriented, many others cover the areas of life science and include such topics as weight loss, healthy eating and cooking, and understanding how the brain works. There are even courses ideal for those who want to learn about wine tasting, caring for a horse or the welfare of chickens. Personal development courses offered by Coursera include public speaking, learning Chinese, essay writing, and the theory of music.

Course Structure

Instructors from many of the leading colleges and universities around the world teach the courses. Most Coursera courses last from a month to ten weeks, and once the course is completed, participants are issued with an electronic certificate. Discussion forums, video lectures, technical support and assignments reviewed by other pupils are all include in most Coursera courses, and the cost of a course is typically between $29 and $99.


Coursera has almost 150 partners in almost 30 countries, including some of the world's leading educational institutions, including Duke University and the University of London. Other partners include governments, and Coursera also actively encourages its users to help in such areas as translating or reviewing other pupils' work.

Specializations and Online Degrees

The online platform offers over 180 specializations in many of its more popular subjects. Upon completion of the 4 to 5 month course, pupils will be issued with a specialization certificate. These courses cost between about $39 and $79 per month, depending on the course. Pupils can also earn an online degree from Coursera which is recognized by other colleges and universities. Earning an online degree will take you up to 4 years, just as it would in the real world, and will cost you between $15,000 and $25,000.