skip navigation
Support KUOW

University of Washington Offers More Free Online Courses

Ann Dornfeld

The University of Washington announced today it will offer more courses for free online.


The university says it will offer the courses through the online startup Coursera. The company already offers free online courses from Princeton, Stanford and the universities of Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The UW will repackage existing classes in information security, applied math, computational finance and computer science and engineering.

They're known as "massive open online courses" because they're available to all–comers. The classes are all free. So what's in it for the UW? For now, marketing.

Risa De Gorgue: "We're well recognized on the West Coast, certainly in the Northwest, but we don't have the national exposure that some of the other universities have. Particularly, some of the East Coast universities. So it gives us much broader exposure."

Risa De Gorgue is a spokeswoman for the UW's department of Professional and Continuing Education. She says the university and Coursera haven't decided whether to give students credit for the free classes. The university already has 16 free online classes that don't offer credit.

Coursera says about 700,000 students have taken its classes so far. The company keeps costs down by minimizing instructor involvement. For example, students grade each other's work.

Coursera says it's not generating any revenue yet. The company may eventually make money by offering credentials for a fee or charging recruiters who are looking for top students.

I'm Ann Dornfeld, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW