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Summary:

For the first time, online education startup Coursera is sharing details on how it’s faring on the money-making front: the company said it’s earned $1 million from the verified certificate program it launched in January.

certificate
photo: ryabinina

Back in January, online education startup Coursera launched a new service that it said could be its biggest source of revenue: selling “verified certificates” that authenticate students’ identity and offer a more valuable credential. Now, the company says that Signature Track program has garnered 25,000 signups and earned $1 million in revenue.

Students that sign up for the verified certificates agree to identity validation measures like photo verification and keystroke monitoring. If they successfully complete the course, they receive an electronic certificate from the school offering the class and Coursera. They can also share a detailed record of their performance with others online. (The verified certificate does not mean the student receives credit from the institution.)

Until now, the company, which launched last year, hasn’t released any specific information about how it’s faring on the money-making front. But, in a blog post, it said that reaching the $1 million mark in nine months validates its new certificate as a “brand new currency” for lifelong learning achievement. Logging 25,000 signups out of 4.7 million people who register for Coursera classes obviously isn’t a huge number, but it’s a start and shows that students around the world are willing to pay for the extra credential.

The company said more than 70 percent of the students paying for the verified certificates (which cost between $30 and $100, depending on the class) have a bachelor’s degree or higher and are using them to prove proficiency to an employer or to bolster a resume, cover letter or LinkedIn profile.

  1. Actually the company released revenue information in April: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/04/08/coursera-begins-make-money

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  2. Coursera seems to be on a roll. They are doing brilliant things in the online educational space.

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  3. Technology affecting education is like the tide coming in – it is going to happen, now it just depends on how. MOOCs are a good model-both private companies and state/semi-state (universities) are working well together. The private model that https://iversity.org and others are going for – to work with universities in Europe and in the US to provide courses, rather than produce content themselves, is more pragmatic than trying to replace the university. It is even possible to obtain ETCS credits with 3 of the courses on iversity, through their partnerships with these universities, an industry first.

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