At one point, one differentiated himself with a college education. Now you stand out if you don’t have a college education. Many employers don’t care what your BA is actually in, so long as you have one, while others want something specific. But just as job outlooks depend so much on education, and national expectations are that most children should want to go to college, perhaps it’s time to make college a little cheaper? Considering how expensive education is, why not streamline things and make it available over the internet?
One of the most successful companies to make distant university more effective is Coursera, an online-education company that, fitting the genre, has only been around a few years. Tapping resources from over 73 universities worldwide, its subjects include computer science, poetry, and health care. The classes are so far free, but there is a premium plan students can join up for more involved exams from teachers.
The company earned $22 million last year from its backers and $43 million this year, growing at a great magnitude. Anybody can take Coursera’s courses, which are not strict lectures, but involve lessons punctuated with mini-quizzes meant to heighten retention.
The founders for the company, Daphne Loller and Andrew Ng, are principled and unlikely to sell the company, with Daphne saying “I’m not sure that the companies that might want to buy us would have the right goals. And our university agreements are very flexible. If the schools aren’t comfortable with a new direction, they could leave and go do something else. We aren’t interested in being acquired.”
With education made more accessible and wide reaching, it will help more students receive the education necessary for even a modest middle class existence, and programs such as Coursera and the alternatives on the market (Udacity, Edx) may change the way colleges are structured in the future, and hence the way the job market is structured.Coursera Online Education Exploding! by Andrew Ostler