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Coursera Announces Professional Development Courses to Facilitate Lifelong Learning for Teachers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - May 1, 2013) - Coursera, a leading Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider, today announced that it has partnered with top professional development programs and schools of education to open up training and development courses to teachers worldwide, for free.

Seven leading schools of education have joined, including the College of Education, University of Washington; Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; Johns Hopkins University School of Education; Match Education's Sposato Graduate School of Education; Peabody College of education and human development, Vanderbilt University; Relay Graduate School of Education; and University of California, Irvine Extension.

Additionally joining Coursera's network of partners are educational institutions and museums including the American Museum of Natural History; The Commonwealth Education Trust; Exploratorium; The Museum of Modern Art; and New Teacher Center.

The new courses, listed on Coursera's course directory under the category Teacher Professional Development, will offer teachers, parents and those who teach in any context a broad range of learning topics, areas of expertise, and pedagogies, all from esteemed organizations working to build stronger education systems. Initial courses will cover diverse subjects including content development, the common core curriculum, teaching through tinkering, character education, and implementing flipped and blended learning strategies.

"The global challenge of training and supporting over 2 million more teachers in the next 1,000 days must be tackled if we want to get every child into school and learning by the end of 2015," said Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education. "Coursera's ambitious agenda to take teacher training and professional development to scale using technology is an important and crucial innovation on the road to meeting our global education goals."

This partnership is Coursera's first foray into early childhood and K-12-level education, and the first time Coursera has partnered with non-degree-bearing institutions to assist in making their valuable resources available worldwide. Similar to university courses currently offered through Coursera, these new courses will feature video lectures, peer forums, supplemental materials and other interactive components to support meaningful educational experiences. Further, these courses are creating potential for schools and districts to integrate this content into their own professional development programs in a blended learning capacity.

"Teachers are among the most important assets for supporting the next generation, and peer support and ongoing professional development can be crucial factors in teacher retention and successful educational outcomes," said Coursera Co-Founder Daphne Koller. "At Coursera, we hope to support millions of teachers around the world in expanding their skills, networks and knowledge, by opening up access to some of the best resources out there, free of cost."

"We want to help K-12 students by helping their teachers," added Coursera Co-Founder Andrew Ng. "Many schools just don't have the resources to provide teachers and parents the training and support they need. By providing free online courses on how to teach, we hope to improve this."

The technology that has been developed for the Coursera platform is designed to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, which is a key factor in career success for many teachers. The global accessibility of Coursera's professional development courses creates the potential to build the largest network for peer support in the world, while also providing a hub of resources that can be used by educators anywhere to enrich learning content and enhance teaching strategies.

To learn more about Coursera Professional Development, or to register for your next course, visit Coursera.org.

About Coursera

Coursera believes in connecting people to a great education so that anyone around the world can learn without limits. Coursera is on a mission to educate millions of people by offering classes from top universities and organizations online for free. Coursera's comprehensive education platform combines mastery-based learning principles with video lectures, interactive content and a global community of peers, offering students a unique online learning experience. Coursera has partnered with top-tier universities and organizations to provide courses across a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, literature, history, computer science and the arts, among others. Coursera is backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. For more information, visit Coursera.org.