Coursera’s offerings may be online-only, but the massive open online course (MOOC) platform will soon have a physical, and socially interactive, presence in nearly 25 countries.


MOOC students who had a facilitator were more likely to complete the course.

From Seoul, South Korea, to La Paz, Mexico, Coursera is partnering with local institutions to create “Global Learning Hubs,” the company announced Oct. 31.

“The very core of our mission is that we believe anyone in the world should be able to learn without limits,” said Yin Lu, lead of growth and international outreach at Coursera. “There are a lot of limits people face in getting an education, so we asked, ‘how can we set up an infrastructure beyond what’s currently available locally in their cities?’”

The answer was to collaborate with local and international partners, including the U.S. Department of State and Digital October, to utilize existing spaces that could be turned into physical locations to take Coursera courses for free.

Initially, there will be learning hubs at 30 embassies, American Spaces, campuses, and other physical locations around the world, including Iraq, Haiti, and the Ukraine.

The spaces won’t just be for connecting to the internet. (In fact, at least one hub won’t even have internet access — the remote location will instead make use of pre-downloaded course material.)

The hubs will also provide an opportunity for Coursera students to learn the material among peers and with a facilitator, much like a blended classroom.

See Page 2 for details on how Coursera recognizes the need for interaction in MOOCs. See Page 3 for our poll.