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.