Penn and Caltech Become Equity Investors in Coursera as 12 New Institutions Come Aboard

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania and the California Institute of Technology have extended a combined $3.7 million investment to Coursera, with further investment from New Enterprise Associates and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Penn previously was among the inaugural institutions joining Coursera, an online learning platform, in offering free online courses.

Coursera also announced that 12 additional institutions have joined: Caltech; Duke University; the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; the Georgia Institute of Technology; Johns Hopkins University; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Rice University; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Edinburgh; the University of Toronto; the University of Virginia; and University of Washington.

The new Coursera participants, including three international institutions, will offer more than 100 new courses on topics in the arts, computer sciences, health, mathematics, history, literature and other disciplines. All courses will be free for any individual with a computer and Internet connection to enroll.

Coursera was founded in the fall of 2011 by Stanford University computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, and in April 2012 announced that Penn, Stanford, Princeton University and the University of Michigan were entering into agreement with Coursera to bring course content online for free. To date, Coursera has seen more than 680,000 students from 190 countries and more than 1.6 million course enrollments across its 43 courses.

“We have been gratified,” Penn Provost Vincent Price said, “by the strong response to our first set of courses, which are galvanizing both wide interest among students and exciting new methods of teaching and learning among our faculty.  We look forward to working even more closely with Coursera and our university partners to continue to shape the future of online education.”  

"We believe that putting courses online for free via Coursera offers tremendous value for students, professors and universities alike," Ng said. "Students have greater access than ever before to the world's foremost subject matter experts. Professors can reach more students in one course than they could have hoped to in a lifetime. Universities can teach millions worldwide, and make time on-campus for interactive in-class learning. This is truly the future of higher education."

During the next few months, new online courses across a range of disciplines will continue to be added to the online platform, from current university partners as well as other top-tier educational institutions.

Additional information is available at

Selected media coverage of Penn and Coursera:

Huffington Post

The New York Times

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed