Major Players in the MOOC Universe

Millions of students have signed up for massive open online courses, and hundreds of universities are offering some form of Web-based curriculum. Most students aren’t paying much for these classes, if they’re paying anything at all. So where is all that knowledge—and all the cash—coming from?


Khan Academy



This for-profit MOOC founded by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller has teamed up with 62 colleges (and counting) for its classes. The company is experimenting with a career service that makes money by connecting employers to its students, and attracted $22-million in venture capital in its first year.

Salman Khan made waves when he quit his job as a hedge-fund analyst to record short video lectures on everything from embryonic stem cells to—you guessed it—hedge funds and venture capital.

This for-profit MOOC, started by the Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun, works with individual professors to offer courses. By March 2013, Udacity had raised more than $21-million in venture capital.

Harvard and MIT put up the original $60-million to start this nonprofit MOOC. So far, students can take classes only from Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley, but classes from nine more universities are coming soon.