Last year, for the very first time, Coursera allowed individuals or “subject matter experts” to create courses. Previously, only Coursera’s partner universities and institutions could do so. Coursera called these new courses Guided Projects.
Now, Coursera is taking it one step further by letting their learners create courses. Last month, they put out a call inviting learners to apply to create Community Guided Projects.
Rhyme’s software allows learners to use their browser to access virtual environments. These can be preconfigured to include all the tools needed for a project. Most notably, they include a side-by-side workspace and video instructions, making it easy for students to follow along.
In 2020, Coursera started calling Rhyme courses “Guided Projects” and launching them under the Coursera Project Network. These project-based courses cost $9.99 and generally take under two hours to complete.
Class Central noticed that in just a few months, Coursera’s catalog of Guided Projects expanded from 0 to over 1,000 offerings. In my analysis of Coursera’s S-1 Form (the company’s first step toward an IPO), I noted that Guided Projects were mentioned a lot: 27 times in total. This hints at their importance in Coursera’s plans for the future, which likely entail competing more directly with platforms such as Udemy (a provider that might also be eyeing an IPO).
Just like Guided Projects, Coursera’s latest initiative, Community Guided Projects, are built atop Rhyme’s software. But unlike them, Community Guided Projects are:
Offered by the Community Project Network, instead of the Coursera Project Network.
Offered entirely for free, instead of costing $9.99.
In the last two weeks, Class Central noticed that Coursera has been launching the first batch of Community Guided Projects, most created by one instructor. Over 1000 learners have signed up for these courses. At the time of writing, Coursera offers 10 Community Guided Projects.
In my analysis of Coursera’s 2020, I wrote the following about Guided Projects:
“The topics (and potentially quality) seem all over the place. Some feel too small — like they should be part of a broader course. And some feel like they shouldn’t be courses at all…”
But Coursera might disagree, considering they now offer over 1,500 Guided Projects, with the most-popular one raking close to 40,000 enrollments. Guided Projects are also included in Coursera’s catalog subscription, Coursera Plus.
Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.