Massive Revenues Reported by Massive Open Online Course Provider

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider Coursera recently reported $220,000 of revenue in the last quarter.

“It’s the beginning of revenue,” Daphne Koller, co-found of Coursera, told Inside Higher Ed.

While all of the company’s 3.2 million registered members take the online courses for free, Coursera introduced a pilot program in January that charges students for optional certificates of completion. Coursera’s hope is that the paid certificates of completion will add more value to the credentials given out to students who finish courses. The company also incorporated Signature Track, an opt-in tool that tracks users’ typing patterns to ensure the validity of their submitted assignments and tests.

It is expected that Coursera will still continue to offer their courses for free, but the company is very interested in commercializing their certificates. Since their recent debut, MOOCs have been under fire for their low course completion rates among students who enroll. However, Koller said that students who choose to opt-in for Signature Track are more likely to complete the course.

At a conference hosted by Coursera earlier this month, Chuong Do, software engineer at Coursera, indicated that approximately 70-80 percent of the members who paid for the certificate of completion had finished their courses.

“When we talk about completion rate, there’s one thing we forget to account for,” Do told Inside Higher Ed, “and that’s student intent.”

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