Coursera and State Department to Bring Online Courses to Poor

Coming out of an agreement made by the U.S. State Department and Coursera Inc. online courses will be offered to students in over 30 locations across the globe, free of charge and without the need of personal internet accounts. The new courses will include tutorials in mathematics, computer science, biology, and business science.

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Children in school in Boucan Carre

The company, Coursera, which offers free online courses through the internet, was founded in 2011 by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, two computer science professors from Stanford University. The aim of this new initiative is to provide ways to education for people, often from third world nations, who cannot afford traditional schooling, or even regular internet courses because they cannot afford the internet.

How it works is that students will be able to take these courses at participating U.S. embassies. The span of the initiative is so wide that only one of the sites is in the United States; others are located in countries like Haiti, Vietnam and Baghdad.

In addition to the online courses, students will have the help of course facilitators on location. So far, over 5 million hopefuls have signed up to take advantage of the free courses, with more than a fifth of them coming from emerging markets.

While there is currently no charge for the privilege, the company's plan to expand into more sites may garner future operational costs for necessaries like electricity. However, for now, the students can enjoy Coursera's 535 courses, in varying fields, free of cost.

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Read more: Education, U.S. State Department, Coursera, Education

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