By Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO Coursera
August 28, 2019: At Coursera, we envision a world where anyone, anywhere can have access to the world’s best education, and we’re proud of how far we’ve come with over 3,600 courses, 190 top university and industry partners, and 14 degrees. But our work doesn’t stop there. In today’s rapidly changing world, companies are looking for candidates who have both the knowledge and the hands-on skills to tackle business problems using industry-standard tools.
Today we’re excited to announce Coursera Labs, a new capability that allows partners to create hands-on projects using almost any third-party software application. These can be offered as standalone projects or integrated into courses. Coursera Labs allows learners to seamlessly work on projects and assignments in a browser without any environment setup or software downloads — simply click a button to instantly work on programming assignments using today’s most in-demand tools like Jupyter Notebook, RStudio, VS Code, cloud software consoles, and almost any native desktop application. In addition to programming, educators can also create custom applications in the Labs environment to help learners practice and apply skills in business, marketing, and humanities.
As we expand our hands-on learning capabilities with Coursera Labs, we’re thrilled to announce our acquisition of Rhyme Softworks, an online platform for hands-on projects. With Rhyme’s virtual machines, beginner to intermediate-level learners can follow along with self-paced or live guided sessions while simultaneously completing a project or assignment — all from one browser using pre-configured Windows or Linux cloud desktops. Rhyme truly embraces the concept of “learn by doing” and, moving forward, we see big opportunities to use Rhyme to extend the capabilities we’ll offer with Coursera Labs. With this acquisition, we will also expand Rhyme’s office in Sofia, Bulgaria to focus on Labs-powered innovation efforts.
Check out what Rhyme is all about here:
University of London was a pilot partner for Coursera Labs and created an innovative way for learners of their Introduction to Computer Programming course, which explores topics covered in their online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree, to immediately apply their coding skills. Using Coursera Labs, Goldsmiths, University of London created a custom application called Sleuth, where students write code to solve a series of interactive detective puzzles.
“Learners today not only want to grasp theoretical concepts, they also want to put their new skills into immediate use. The Sleuth game is a fun, interactive way for learners to test their understanding of the foundational programming skills we teach in the course,” said Dr. Mathew Yee-King, Programme Director, BSc Computer Science at University of London. “Using Coursera Labs, we were able to integrate Sleuth seamlessly into the learning experience, and we look forward to using this new capability to integrate more applied learning experiences into our online content.”
University of Michigan and University of Illinois are also going to use Coursera Labs for their upcoming content on the Coursera platform. We plan to roll this functionality out broadly to our full partner portfolio by the end of the year.
As online learning continues to support workforce training on the job and at home, it’s important to provide engaging, hands-on experiences that enable learners to test their mastery of new skills with the tools used in the workplace. We look forward to Coursera Labs and Rhyme enhancing our partners’ courses to prepare more learners for jobs of the future.