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Duke Among Schools Joining Stanford With Coursera Courses

Duke University, Johns Hopkins University and the California Institute of Technology have joined Stanford and Princeton universities in offering free online courses through startup Coursera Inc.

A total of 16 schools are now partners with Coursera, the Mountain View, California-based company said today in a statement. Caltech and the University of Pennsylvania will also invest a combined $3.7 million in the company.

Coursera, founded last year by two Stanford computer science professors, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, offers university classes online, with the aim of educating millions of people globally for free. The company, which raised $16 million earlier this year from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates, will receive an additional combined $2.3 million from the venture capital firms, both of which are based in Menlo Park, California.

“We have a tremendous amount of great ideas on how to make the platform a terrific place,” Koller said in a telephone interview. “That requires engineering resources.”

The new partners and extra funding will enable more than 100 classes to run in the fall. Topics include computer science, health, math, history, the arts and literature.

“Universities can teach millions worldwide, and make time on-campus for interactive in-class learning,” Ng said in the statement. “This is truly the future of higher education.”

Other participating schools are Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Washington, Rice University, University of Edinburgh, University of Toronto, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, University of California at San Francisco, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Virginia.

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