Introducing New Tools and Features as Demand for Online Learning Grows

Introducing New Tools and Features as Demand for Online Learning Grows

By Shravan Goli, Chief Product Officer

Learners around the world are turning to online learning at this particularly challenging time. Overnight, universities have switched to remote teaching in order to provide academic continuity to their students. In the past month, 5.9 million learners enrolled in courses on Coursera and nearly 2,700 institutions launched Coursera for Campus programs. As the community of online learners and educators grow, we are doubling down on our efforts to serve them with top-quality content, delivered through a high-quality learning experience. Today we’re excited to introduce several new tools and features for our learners and educators. 

Serving our learners

It’s vital that we continue to help learners develop and showcase job-relevant skills. This starts with the right content for specific goals, and support to help learners make progress. 

Matching learners with the right content

With a broad range of courses, Specializations, degrees, and certificates, learners have a lot to choose from on our platform. They should be able to easily discover the most relevant content to develop the skills they need. To help, we’ve introduced:

  • PERSONALIZED BROWSING – Built on machine learning models, this feature ensures learners receive tailored suggestions for the most relevant learning content based on their learning journey so far. 
  • PERSONALIZED HOMEPAGE  – When logged in, learners can resume a course in one click, see personalized recommendations on courses to pursue next, and view the certificates they’ve earned so far. 

Helping learners make progress

We recognize that learning takes time, commitment, and motivation. We’ve continued to improve our in-course help system that provides AI-powered nudges to help learners stay on track. As learners develop skills, it’s important for them to understand their own proficiency relative to their career objectives. We’re excited to introduce: 

  • GOAL SETTING – Once a learner starts a new course, a prompt will appear to create learning goals from the get-go. These goals can be seamlessly synced with Google Calendar and other calendar apps, integrating learning into a daily routine. 
  • SMART REVIEW MATERIAL – This machine learning tool helps unblock learners when they fail a quiz. It serves targeted review material recommendations based on the specific questions they missed, providing learners with a structured path to succeed on the next quiz attempt.
  • LEARNER SKILL TRACKING – This data-driven tool tracks learner skill development, sharing updated competency scores as a learner takes more assessments on Coursera. Through a centralized dashboard, learners can monitor their progress toward career-specific skills and see how their competency scores compare to other professionals on the Coursera platform. 

Serving our partners 

While universities needed to quickly go online due to the disruption from COVID-19, this is also a catalyst for the digital transformation of higher ed. We’re here to support our partners in their efforts to provide online learning at scale with a number of new tools and features. 

Helping educators move online faster

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing global experimentation with remote teaching. We’ve heard from many partners who are looking for tools and resources to provide academic continuity for their students. With these educators in mind, we’ve launched:   

  • Live2Coursera – Thousands of instructors are using Zoom to deliver lectures to millions of students worldwide, and this resource should be turned into a long-term digital asset. Live2Coursera allows seamless integration of these live lectures into a private course. Zoom recordings are added automatically to an instructor’s course as they teach, so they can build a library of content to reuse in future private or open courses. Launching later in 2020.
  • CourseMatch – On the heels of our Coronavirus Response Initiative, which provides universities with free access to Coursera for Campus, we’ve launched CourseMatch: a machine learning solution that automatically matches a university’s on-campus courses to courses in our catalog, enabling institutions to quickly deliver the most relevant online courses to their students. 

Easily create and manage content 

Our partners are dedicated to creating high-quality courses and Specializations for learners everywhere. We’re rolling out a number of new innovations to help partners swiftly create and manage content on our platform:

  • CLOUD IMPORT – Seamlessly import cloud assets directly to the Coursera platform from any publicly available URL and after signing in to a Dropbox or Google Drive account. 
  • ASSESSMENT IMPORTEfficiently author assessments by importing documents directly to the Coursera platform from Google Docs, Sheets, Microsoft Word, and Excel. Launching later in 2020.
  • QUESTION BANKS – Create a question bank, tagging questions based on objectives and difficulty to efficiently leverage a core set of questions across several assessments. Launching later in 2020.
  • MACHINE-ASSISTED PEER REVIEW – This tool enables grading at scale. Learners struggling to get an assignment peer-graded can have their work automatically assessed by a machine learning model trained on previously peer-graded submissions from the course.  
  • ITEM LINKING – When a partner makes changes to an item in one course, they can apply that change across all linked copies of the item in other courses, increasing content efficiency, consistency, and stackability. Learner quiz grades from an open course will automatically carry over to a degree where that quiz is also used, preventing learners from needing to retake the assessment.
  • CUSTOM ROLES – Managing the roles and permissions associated with a course typically requires the combined efforts of teaching assistants, faculty, and university administrators. Custom Roles provides additional control and flexibility, with partners now able to create new staff roles with any combination of permissions and access. Especially with for-credit content, this offers an additional layer of protection for student privacy. 

Empowering our degree partners with data and APIs

As we work with our partners to bring more top-quality degrees online, we’re also focused on helping our degree partners manage their content more efficiently: 

  • DEGREE APIs – Partners can integrate with Coursera via APIs, enabling a near real-time exchange using standards-based technology. This will start with key operational data for the degree programs and course enrollments, with more APIs set to launch throughout 2020. It will help identify and resolve errors faster, provide increased flexibility for partners to use their own tech stacks, and enable testing both before and after launching content to proactively monitor any issues. 

Our learner and educator community represents a wide range of needs, and we’re committed to responding to those with rapid innovation. No matter where you are in the world, we’re here to help with your teaching and learning goals. Check out our learner and partner communities today.