Coursera, the California company that offers free college classes online, is forming partnerships with 10 large public university systems and public flagship universities to create courses that students can take for credit, either fully online or with classroom sessions.
The move could open online classes to 1.25 million students at public institutions across the United States, and could help increase graduation rates by making introductory and required classes — often a bottleneck because of high demand — more widely available.
Joining Coursera will be the State University of New York system, the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee systems, the University of Colorado system, the University of Houston system, the University of Kentucky, the University of Nebraska, the University of New Mexico, the University System of Georgia and West Virginia University.
Some systems plan to blend online materials with faculty-led classroom sessions. Others will offer credit to students who take the courses online followed by a proctored exam on campus.