Demand for Online Education Increases in Economic Downturn

By Olivia Moore. Stanford University. 

While about 15,000 students call the Stanford campus home, hundreds of thousands of people in countries from Russia to Peru have enjoyed the benefits of Stanford courses through free online classes that are available to scholars across the globe.

Upon completing an online course, which are designed by Stanford professors and offered on platforms like Coursera and Class2Go, students receive a statement of accomplishment signed by a professor. This statement of accomplishment “will not stand in the place of a course taken at Stanford or an accredited institution,” according to the Coursera website. However, this lack of official credit did not dissuade more than 350,000 people from enrolling in Stanford’s first three online courses in fall 2011.

Online course offerings have increased since the end of the pilot program, with five courses offered last spring and 16 this fall. Stanford isn’t the only university to offer free online courses, and the recent push to offer more classes has aligned Stanford with many other institutions such as Princeton University who have introduced online programs or have experienced increased demand for online courses.

Read the full paper here.