Netflix-Style Service Cengage Unlimited Reaches 1.5 Million Subscribers

Zoe Mackay | IBL News

Cengage Unlimited, launched last September, has reached 1.5 million subscribers to date. George Moore, CTO at Cengage [in the picture], spoke to this success on “The Changing EdTech Business Model” panel at the IMS Global Learning Consortium. The panel was moderated by Ray Henderson, and Moore was joined by Curtiss Barnes, Melissa Loble, and Jason Palmer.

Software is eating the world, “ said Palmer, a General Partner at New Markets Venture Partners. “All jobs are tech jobs. All companies, no matter what those companies are, are in fact tech companies. Everything has been digitized.”

Barnes, a Managing Director at Pearsons, noted that a clearly evident trend in edtech is that technology “is not transformative. It just is.” Particularly for what he calls the current generation of learners, Gen Z, technology “is part of their daily life.”

Moore agreed, following Barne’s train of thought, saying “technology is. It’s not another modality.” Nine months after it’s launch, Cengage Unlimited has 1.5 million subscribers and has saved $60M for students to date. Moore estimates this number will surpass $100M by September.

Created with the Netflix subscription service as a model, Moore says that “from an affordability perspective, we feel it’s very successful. From an adoption standpoint, students love it…this is how they buy music [and] videos.” The commercial model was created for students, “to help them with their 100 year learning career.”

Loble, a SVP at Instructure, has been shifting their emphasis on the full journey, “from the first day of school to the last day of work.” This learning continuum, as she refers to it, necessitates being aware “of where there are skills and where there are gaps” so lifelong learning flows smoothly.

To watch the full panel discussion, please see the video below.



“Emerging Markets Are a Large Opportunity to Boost Online Enrollment”, Says Emeritus CEO

The Promises and Challenges of Emerging Markets in Higher Education: Emeritus CEO Ashwin Damera in Conversation


Henry Kronk | IBL News

Numerous U.S.-based online program managers (OPM) have made the news lately for better or for worse. But what about similar companies operating in different countries?

Emeritus currently employs over 400 people and partners with many top U.S. institutions, but has offices in India, Dubai, Singapore, and Mexico. And they don’t exactly consider themselves an OPM.

IBL News recently contacted CEO and Co-Founder Ashwin Damera to learn more about the value proposition involved in such a decentralized business model.

Henry Kronk: How did you come to found Emeritus in the first place?

Ashwin Damera: I grew up in India. I worked at Citigroup for five years. I then went to do my MBA at Harvard Business School. After that I came back to start an online travel company. It was funded by Sequoia. We started in 2005, I ran it for four years. Eventually, we were acquired by Travelocity. I had a year where I spent some time for Travelocity Asia Pacific, just advising them about regional strategy in the online travel space.

At that point in time, I met my co-founder Chaitanya Kalipatnapu who had gone to INSEAD and was working there at the time. When I was thinking about what I wanted to do next, I was looking at two sectors: education and healthcare. Both have the ability to touch peoples’ lives.

So we kind of joined hands and started the parent company of Emeritus, which is called Eruditus, in 2010. Chaitanya [Kalipatnapu] went to INSEAD, I went to Harvard. Those are obviously great places to go and it actually changed our careers and made us very successful. It had a catalyzing effect. So we wanted to see how we could make these universities more accessible to a larger number of people across the world.

That was our mission statement then; it’s our mission statement today.

We started in 2010, INSEAD was our first partner, and we started offering programs in the region. We started in India and then moved to Dubai and Asia Pacific. The idea was to get students to sign up for these classroom programs initially, delivered partly on campus, partly in region, and partly online.

In 2015, we created Emeritus to say, listen, not everyone can come to a classroom program, for many reasons, right? (Travel, price, days away from work.) So why not leverage online? MOOCs had already launched, schools were warming up to the idea of online delivery. But we took a different approach. We wanted high-touch online because, at the end of the day, the learning outcomes matter.

What we loved about our educational background was the fact that you had some contact with the faculty, you had peer-to-peer learning, you had projects and assignments and you got feedback. So we tried to incorporate all of that into what is now known as SPOC (small private online courses), which we offer through Emeritus.

We went to our partners at that time, MIT, Columbia, and Dartmouth. They became the first three schools. Today that has expanded. We work with Wharton School of Business, Kellogg School of Management, Berkeley, London Business School, Cambridge [and more]—all elite schools. We offer classes both in person and online. Last year, we taught about 30,000 students through these university courses.

We continue to be very mission-focused. Part of this global access has resulted in us opening an office in Mexico City. We are starting to offer courses in Spanish and Portuguese because we understand that language is also part of access. Access means many things to many people. It usually means price point. Online is helpful because there’s no travel, but the language is also valuable.

In general, we are a platform. I’m not sure we would actually qualify as a traditional OPM. I’m not even sure if we would want to be called an OPM. The reason for that is, while we provide a lot of the OPM-type services, I think we are far more flexible and unbundled than a typical OPM. For example, we work on classroom programs through Eruditus. Those could be 2-day programs delivered in, say, Singapore, Dubai, Mexico City, or India. Or they could be a six-month journey delivered both in a classroom and online. Or they can be purely online. We are very flexible with the type of program we can work.

OPM is an online program management—they don’t do any classroom stuff. We do. That’s one reason that jacket doesn’t fit.

More importantly, each school has its own goals and objectives. Somebody might say, ‘Listen, what I want you guys to do is to boost enrollment online in emerging markets. I don’t need your help in the U.S.’

Somebody else might say, ‘Hey, we’ve created this course, we want you to help us deliver it.’ And then of course, the majority of our partners want us to do everything for them. For the same partner school, for some courses, we might do everything, and for some other courses, just parts of it. We’re very flexible.

As a consequence of that, our terms with our clients are also flexible. No clawbacks, no 15-year contracts, no exclusivities and all of that. If we follow our mission—if more people at more universities have access—we are excited.


Henry Kronk:  Many American colleges and universities are currently worried about their existence. Enrollments have been dropping and are expected to continue to fall. Many believe that emerging markets, where data infrastructures are starting to be able to support online course might a factor that helps them stay afloat and might even be a silver bullet. Do many institutions turn to Emeritus with this strategy?

Ashwin Damera: Yes, emerging markets are a large opportunity. However, it’s a different opportunity. It’s not that you can take what works in the U.S., cut, copy, and paste it into emerging markets.

What do I mean by that? The first thing is the brands that resonate in the U.S. may resonate very differently in different parts of the world. It’s absolutely true that there are some brands, some top schools, many of which we work with, that have reach everywhere in the world. Second tier, third tier brands, for example, a college that may be very popular in certain parts of the U.S. may not resonate in India or Latin America or China.

The opposite is also true. A college that is ranked, let’s say, outside of the top 100, can still be a very strong brand in other markets. So you have to think about that carefully.

Price points are also different because the willingness to pay is different. You have to be really clear which price points you want to target.

The third thing is that tuition for most students (in the U.S.) is funded by student loans, which are funded by the U.S. government. In many emerging markets, that ecosystem is still nascent. A lot of people might take loans themselves, but the interest rates are much higher. It’s not 3% or 4%, it’s more like 12% or 15% in some places.

The implication of that plays out in ROI. If I do this degree program through the school either online or in the classroom, what do I get at the end of that? What does that mean in terms of my ability to pay back what I’ve borrowed? You have to couple these things with career outcomes. Those questions are asked a lot more.

So large markets—if you just look at enrollment numbers in a place like India, there are 30 million students in higher education, but the government loan ration is still only about 27%. There’s a huge room to grow. In China, it’s about 35%. So there’s lots of room to grow, and these economies are still growing. The population is still growing.

Are institutions reaching out to us [to target these markets]? Yes. Both with certificate courses and online degrees, we have always had emerging markets as our focus. We have offices in Mumbai, in Dubai, in Singapore, in Mexico City. Emerging markets are part of our DNA. Schools realize that.

Especially when you’re targeting emerging markets, you probably want a partner, because there are many unknowns. Today about 70% of our enrollments are non-U.S. That is very different from other players in the U.S. who are quartered locally.


Henry Kronk:  Establishing a business in not two, but many different countries—I can’t begin to imagine all of the challenges that have posted. What’s the return on investment with creating such a decentralized business?

Ashwin Damera: Think of our customers—the universities. Whether they’re sitting on the East coast, the West coast, in Europe (maybe in Toronto). If you’re looking at their on-campus programs, especially at the Master’s level. It’s very common for more than 50%, even 70%, to be international students. The U.S. and Europe are great brands. They have great institutions and many students from around the world want to come and study. There’s a huge demand for these education experiences globally. That’s a given.

The reason why we do what we do is because our university partners want to have students from across the world. That’s part of what they do.

In some ways in the U.S. and Europe, there is plateauing demand. Populations are aging. It’s always good to think about the next 10-20 years as a university. You need to be in these high-growth markets, that is clear.

The complexity, for example, of offering a course for students in China, Indonesia, India, Peru, Chile, South Africa, Nigeria—it’s very difficult. As a university, do you want to go and tie up with 10 different providers in each different market? Or would you rather work with one who can help you access all of these different markets and take care of the operational complexities?

That’s the value in our business model. It’s very difficult to do what we’re doing. But it’s much easier to come to a client and say, ‘We will market your course in North America and Europe.’ These are fairly politically advanced economies. The students are mature. The buying process is fairly evolved. Versus saying I’m going to take this course and offer it in 35 or 40 other countries and take care of all the other things involved in that. You have to speak to students, counsel them, manage the taxation issues, the regulations, a whole bunch of stuff. But that’s the value to the university and it’s also our mission: to make high-quality education accessible. If we weren’t doing what we’re doing, we wouldn’t be living up to our mission.


Henry Kronk:  Many people (especially those with vested interests) still discount credentials as all but useless and land far in favor of diplomas. How would you weigh in on the worth of credentialing internationally?

Ashwin Damera: I tend to think three things matter: what is the credential, who is giving it, and what is the acceptability of it.

In general, a degree is still far more valuable than whatever you call the certificate. You can call it a Nanodegree, you can call it a MicroMasters, you can call it a verified certificate, or you can just call it a certificate. That pales in comparison to the value of a degree.

I’m talking about mostly emerging markets here. It’s very social-cultural. You can look at the ‘70s and ‘80s when a lot of people went to great local institutions or went to the U.S., got a degree, did very well in life. The degree is kind of an indicator of success.

But even in the degree space, people understand that an MBA from XYZ school is very different from an MBA from a top school. Like I said earlier, it all depends on career outcomes. The starting salaries of graduates from a school probably matter a lot more than just saying, ‘I have an MBA.’

The third thing that also matters is, people are starting to realize that you can get an MBA in Mexico or parts of Latin America for anywhere between $1,000 and $8,000 to $10,000 depending on the institution. What does the $1,000 MBA give you? What is the rigor of the assessments? What are the criteria? People are able to ask the question even in credential programs, what’s the value and how are they related to each other.

Of course, if you charge $150,000 for an online MBA, will you get a lot of students from emerging markets? Probably not. But if you charge a reasonable fee, provide the rigor and the career outcomes, there’s a market for it.

I would say there’s an exception to what I’m saying—there may be a few. One is the concept of bootcamps where they’re not providing a credential, but they’re providing very strong career services. They address the students needs for ROI and career advancement, though they’re not providing a credential at the end. These are definitely more popular in the U.S. and continue to make headlines. But in emerging markets, they’re still nascent. My intuition is, if done well, there’s a huge market for that product.


Henry Kronk:  When MOOCs received all their hype 6 or 7 years ago, many believed they would democratize education and improve equity. It then turned out that most people who really benefited from them were actually mid-career professionals in Europe and North America. Is there a typical demographic that Emeritus serves?

Ashwin Damera: Yes. In our typical online courses, the average work experience is about 10-12 years. These are mid-career working professionals. They may not have a graduate or undergraduate degree in some cases. But they have significant work experience. They’re not looking at this as getting their first job; they’re adding a skill that will help them advance in their current job or in their current company.


Georgia Tech Will Deploy this Summer an Improved Version of its AI-Based Teacher Assistant

Mikel Amigot | IBL News (San Diego)

A refined and revised version of Georgia Tech’s first AI-based teacher assistant will be introduced this summer as a way to enhance some of the syllabi at the school. This virtual agent, known as Jill Watson and developed by Professor Ashok Goel, will turn three years old.

Yakut Gazi, Associate Dean of Learning Systems at Georgia Tech, highlighted during the 2019 Learning Impact Leadership Institute conference, last week in San Diego, the fact that her institution “is leading efforts in Artificial Intelligence’s development”. “Many students of the OMSC degree didn’t know that an AI agent was responding their questions until the end of the semester,” she added.

Jill Watson is the result of the work of Prof. Goel [in the picture] with a team of graduate students in his Design & Intelligence Laboratory (DILAB). This team created this chatbot to answer routine, frequently asked questions in the forum for his online Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence (KBAI) class.

The original intent was to free up time for the course TAs (Teacher Assistants), so they could concentrate on more creative and less repetitive tasks. But an expected outcome arose: more learner engagement. Before Jill Watson, students averaged 32 comments per semester; after Jill Watson, each student averaged 38 comments per semester.

In the spring of 2016, once this AI-agent’s identity was revealed, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

One student wanted to nominate Jill for the Outstanding TA award, and not one student complained.

National news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post ran stories on her. Ashok Goel gave a TEDxTalk on Jill, and he was invited by the Gates Foundation in January 2018 to participate in a brainstorming session on the future of AI in education.

Georgia Tech’s motto is affordability, accessibility, and applicability, and Jill Watson can help human teachers deliver education at scale.

Georgia Tech: Jill Watson’s Terrific Twos

UBx, University at Buffalo’s Continuing Education Open edX-Based Platform, Expands with New Courses

Marie E. Rose | IBL News (Purchase, NY)

UBx, University at Buffalo’s learning platform for continuing and professional education, plans to launch seven new courses this year, after the recent success of the “Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World” class. These courses, now in development, will cover areas such as Jupyter Notebooks, Writing College Essays, Faculty Development, and Robot Safety.

The first upcoming course is “Introduction to ArcGIS Pro”.

UBx is one of the first nationwide Open edX-based platforms on professional development at the university level. “We use this LMS for online learning where departments are able to generate and keep most of the revenue,”  explained Jay Stockslader, Director of Continuing Education at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo [in the picture above].

Jay Stockslader, with years in experience in continuing ed, presented its initiative last Thursday at SUNY’s CIT2019 conference throughout a talk titled “Emerging Technologies and Digital Strategies”.

The platform, integrated with the University at Buffalo’s payment portal, has been conceived for non-credit bearing courses, although some scholars at the SUNY system are considering using it as a testing ground for future credit classes.


Canadian Educator Heather Payne Says that Tenure Should Be Abolished

John G. Paul | IBL News

One hour after delivering the keynote address of the day, Heather Payne, speaker and entrepreneur, tweeted: “Just told a room full of tenured professors that tenure is dumb and should be abolished and lived to tell the tale. Thanks for having me, State University of New York!”.

Heather Payne’s post was a rightful summary of an energetic conference that shocked many professors gathered in the auditorium of SUNY’s Purchase College in New York, during the second day of the CIT2019 event.

This young Canadian educator, founder and CEO of the HackerYou coding bootcamp, and named one the top innovators in North America, delivered a one-hour talk featured as “Starting from scratch. How higher ed needs to change its contract with its students”.

The main thesis was that “college isn’t designed for students”. Collectively, 44 million Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loans. Besides, as she highlighted, there is a mental health crisis, with many students experiencing episodes of overwhelming anxiety. The university system has its origins in Medieval Europe, where the instruction was based on delivering lectures, and main teaching subjects were arts, law, theology and medicine.

“Higher education needs to be fully redesigned,” claimed Heather Payne [in the picture], before explaining how new colleges should function.

In addition to eliminating stadiums, as a metaphor of sports programs, Mrs. Heather stated that tenure should be eliminated, along with the research job. “No tenure. And professors should do no research”.

“Tenure is job protection that none of the rest of us have access to, nor is it something any of us should want for our society. It removes the incentive to improve and keeps professors in jobs they should move on from”.

“We want professors to spend their energy coaching, mentoring and guiding the leaders of tomorrow. Research in higher ed has been nothing but a distraction at most schools, taking away from the student experience”.

She proposed no tuition payment upfront and an income sharing agreement with students when they land their first job after graduating from college. This model is being implemented in her 30-employees, Toronto-based start-up, which teaches 9-week long web coding-related programs, helping learners transition from low paying jobs to $50k+ ones.



NY University System Will Focus on Increasing its Online Presence

SUNY, the State of New York University System, will heavily focus on increasing its online offer, by scaling its main program to 1,000 students in three years. It will also target post-traditional learners, not only in New York but also out of the state and internationally. The goal is also “to bring back the 40,000 New York residents who are going to non-NY online institutions”. 

Tod A. Laursen, Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost, unfolded all of these remarks on Wednesday during the opening keynote of the CIT 2019 conference in Purchase, New York — a gathering of 400 educators and technologists within the SUNY system.

This plan will be implemented throughout multiple phases, until its launch in the Fall of 2020. Part of the strategy will be the data initiative, based on moving towards predictive data analytics.

Brian Digman, new CIO of SUNY, whose keynote was titled “Disruptive technology arrives”, insisted on the importance of data to predict the future. “Data is the new oil, but data wisdom is yet to be revealed,” said during his remarks at CIT 2019.

In addition, Tod A. Laursen highlighted the growth of OERs (Open Educational Resources) on SUNY, saving $16 million in course material costs.

See some of the slides below.

Illinois Shuts Down its Traditional MBA and Focuses into Online’s iMBA

Marie E. Rose | IBL News

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will shift investments away from its residential MBA programs to focus on its rapidly growing online iMBA, which is delivered through at $22,000 (compared to traditional MBAs that can cost three or four times more.)

The ending of this face-to-face program happens in an environment where several universities have scaled back or eliminated traditional MBA programs.

The University of Illinois will allow current MBA students and those planning to start programs this year to finish.

“The iMBA is the right format for the times – providing a powerful learning experience with anytime/anywhere accessibility at an affordable cost,” said Jeffrey Brown, Dean of Gies College of Business, in a statement. “Given the global reach and accessibility of this program, we are creating what I call the world’s MBA. With this and with our innovation in undergrad, specialized masters, and lifelong learning, we are playing to our competitive advantages and positioning ourselves for tremendous impact and steady growth. These moves will focus our investment in ways that will make us unquestionably one of a handful of the world’s very best and most innovative business schools.”

Applications to the iMBA have nearly tripled – from 1,100 in 2016, when the program was launched, to a projected 3,200 in 2019.

“The program is revolutionary in its delivery, stackable structure, concentrations, immersions, accessibility, and career-curated content. It combines the material in ways that professionals use it in the real world, not in traditional academic silos. iMBA students earn the same MBA that on-campus students have been earning for decades. At a total cost of less than $22,000, the program is designed to be affordable at a time when MBAs can easily cost $80,000 or more.”

“Our iMBA is the most innovative, highest-value MBA of any kind anywhere in the world,” said Brown [in the picture]. “Because it is online and offered at an affordable cost, it creates access to high-quality, high-impact business education for larger numbers of talented people. It fulfills our land-grant mission and serves our state spectacularly well. At the same time, by being fully online, it extends and deepens our reach as a global player — ensuring a worldwide reach for our College and alumni network.”

In addition to the iMBA, Gies College of Business will focus its investments on a suite of rapidly growing market-driven master’s programs, undergraduate education, and lifelong learning. Gies will seek to expand and add to its line-up of high-quality specialized masters degrees in fields such as accounting, finance, and technology management.

Gies will also increase investments in its undergraduate programs. Last year, 99% of students were employed, continued their education, or entered volunteer service within three months of graduation. In addition, the College is offering an online business minor, which has experienced remarkable success and currently enrolls about 1,000 students.

“With how quickly business and technology are changing, lifelong learning is another high-impact, high- growth field,” said Brown. “People need to keep up with business and technology changes in order to build careers and create value. We’ll be right there for them.”

The College claims that “is honoring its commitment to current and incoming MBA students, ensuring they will have access to the same outstanding faculty, curriculum, action learning experiences, and career advising until they complete their degree. Recognizing that the announcement may impact some students’ decision about whether to attend Gies, the College extended the deadline for refunding deposits from June 3 to July 1 and also offered automatic admission into the iMBA as an option.”

“The full-time and part-time residential MBA programs are excellent, as are the students and alumni of those programs,” said Brown. “Yet market demand for traditional formats is declining nationwide. Meanwhile, demand, as well as the needs of businesses and individuals, is growing in these other areas. We believe in innovating and staying ahead of trends in business education and on top of the needs of business and society.”



• Illinois Gies College of Business: Gies Announces Strategic Shift

Forbes: Why Business Schools Are Shutting Down Their MBA Programs

IBL News: Master’s Degrees which Can Be Completed Online

IBL News: 45 MOOC-Based Master’s Degrees Worldwide

What’s Next for Coursera and FutureLearn? Insights Revealed at the EMOOCS Conference

John G. Paul | IBL News

Coursera, with fourteen MOOC-based degrees in its catalog, is seeing slow progress in this modality. “They are growing slower than we expected,” revealed Dil Sidhu, Chief Content Officer at Coursera, at the EMOOCS 2019 conference, which took place last week at the University of Naples Federico II, in Italy.

Dil Sidhu, who started his work at Coursera at the beginning of this year, provided during his talk an interesting piece of data: “62 percent of those who take an online degree [in Coursera] started with a MOOC”. “MOOCs are the gateway to online degrees,” he stated. (See the graphic above).

This executive provided a snapshot of what lies ahead for Coursera: “Inclusion of Behavioral Sciences to help learners succeed. Data analytics to help identify content and learners habits. Help partners succeed (…). Social impact: Coursera for refugees, veterans, and incarcerated populations”.

During the same session at the University of Naples Federico II, Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, and Simon Nelson, CEO at FutureLearn, stressed the impact of in-demand MOOCs on up-skilling and re-skilling employees as well as setting up lifelong learning habits.

Simon Nelson, whose company received a recent investment of $64 million, announced that FutureLearn will invest money in creating high-quality content. So far the three big MOOC providers have not invested in content, relying instead on universities’ and industry partners’ offerings.

The CEO of FutureLearn also disclosed that his organization is working, along with some other European MOOC providers such as France Universite Numerique (FUN) and Spanish Telefonica’s MiriadaX, in a common microcredential framework, recognized for credit by leading employers. This new credential will be provided after 100 to 150- hour classes. (See the screenshot below).

The New Standard LTI 1.3, which Allows Interoperability of Grades and Assignments, Excites the Industry

Mikel Amigot | IBL News (San Diego)

The new standard of LTI 1.3 and LTI Advantage is here.

These two open industry standards by IMS Global provide secure connections between learning platforms and the digital edtech ecosystem.

On May 15, the IMS Global Learning Consortium, specializing in edtech interoperability, announced the availability of Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) version 1.3, a significant update to the core standard, along with three new services that comprise LTI Advantage.

This technology, which enables interoperability of grades and assignments and other data transfer, was in the center of the conversation of those of us who attended the Learning Impact Leadership Institute this week in San Diego, around six hundred professionals in total.

There are some LMS and portals early adopter achieving IMS certification, including Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, Sakai, Cengage, Tsugi, Kaltura, McGraw-Hill and VitalSource. They were all prominently featured during the conference [see the picture above].

LTI Advantage, built on LTI 1.3, deep links and enhances the integration by provisioning usernames and roles, and exchanging the assignments and grades.

During the conference several LTI Advantage bootcamp sessions took place.

Participants saw demonstrations, were immersed about Caliper Analytics and proctoring specifications, and learned how to migrate LTI 1.x implementations to LTI Advantage.

LTI has long been the gold standard in interoperability for edtech, enabling secure plug-and-play integration of learning systems.

Dr. Charles Severance, who invented this tool, told IBL News that LTI 1.3 is making a real difference and LMSs without it could be out of the market.

Many attendees showed their excitement around the new standards and mentioned the alignment between K12/Higher Education and the industry.

An example was Terry O’Heron, Director of Operations at Penn State University, who highlighted how LTI and open standards expedited the integration process at his institution, which uses CanvasLMS.



[IBL News was one of the three media sponsors of the 2019 Learning Impact Leadership Institute Conference]


Coursera Expands into Canada by Opening an Engineering Office

Coursera’s international growth will now expand into Canada.

The leading MOOC provider announced this week the opening of the first engineering office outside of the United States, in Toronto.

The new office will be initially staffed with nine engineers [in the picture], whose mission according to Coursera will be “to accelerate innovation for the company’s enterprise and partner products”.

Four additional software developer positions are currently offered.

“As a global platform with more than 80% of our learners coming from outside of the U.S., it is also important for us to diversify our talent sourcing and build a presence in new tech hubs to enrich our own product thinking and engineering best practices.”

With 40 million learners, 1,800 business, and 190 university and industry partners, Coursera –which competes with Udacity and edX– continues to prepare itself for an IPO.