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World Bank invests in online education

Photo courtesy of degreesearch.org Photo courtesy of degreesearch.org
Online education service Coursera on Wednesday announced a fresh round of funding from the investment arm of the World Bank and other backers, AFP reports. The Silicon Valley-based startup said that it took in $43 million from a group of investors that included the World Bank's International Finance Corporation and Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner. "Coursera is on the forefront of transforming the $4.5 trillion dollar learning industry," said Michael Moe, chief of GSV Capital, which also participated in the funding round. "Coursera is democratizing access to the best universities and professors in the world." Coursera.org was created by Stanford University professors and launched in April of last year as an online venue for free university classes. The startup is still working on ways to generate revenue with ideas such as fees for certificates of accomplishment or for tutoring. Coursera works with 83 educational institutions in an array of countries and offers about 400 free college-level courses. The startup got an initial round of $22 million in funding last year. Uses for the latest infusion of cash will include expanding t more countries and developing mobile applications so classes can be access from smartphones or tablets, according to Coursera. "We created Coursera in response to real and pressing demands for quality, accessible education around the world, and today we are proud to be part of a growing movement that is making a tangible impact on this global challenge," said co-founder Andrew Ng.

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