Coursera is making good on its promise to bring online education to students around the world.
When the company raised a massive $43 million in July, the founders said they would use the funding to guarantee affordable education for anyone with an Internet connection.
The fast-growing massive open online course (MOOC) provider today announced that it is partnering with NetEase, a China-based Internet company to extend its courses to millions of people in the region.
Coursera content (user forums, course descriptions and so on) will be available on open.163.com, an educational site run by NetEase, which also features content from TED and Khan Academy. This Chinese language web portal has been dubbed CourseraZone.
Coursera will offer courses in Chinese, and is working with volunteer translator community Yeeyan to translate the most popular English-language courses. Coursera has partnered with several universities, including Peking University and National Taiwan University.
Coursera has web hosting agreement to make sure that courses are easy to download for people living in China.
The Mountain View Calif. based company may have a difficult time penetrating into the Chinese market. It has proven challenging for U.S.-based entrepreneurs to gain an audience in Asia. However, the team has clearly taken steps to partner with a number of native organizations, which should help.
“With its wide-reaching technology platform and Chinese market expertise, NetEase will be an invaluable partner for us as we work to launch initiatives like Coursera Zone that open up Coursera to the millions of people living in China,” said Coursera cofounder and CEO Andrew Ng in a statement.
Coursera was founded by two Stanford University computer science professors, Daphne Koller and Ng. It has seen rapid adoption of its free and cheap video courses from lecturers at elite universities like Stanford, Northwestern, and Yale. Students can learn anything online from Ancient Greek to Algebra.