The jury may still be out on how much money massive open online courses stand to generate for the companies and universities that offer them, but that has not deterred investors from betting big on Coursera, the largest MOOC company. The company announced on Wednesday that it had raised $43-million in its second round of financing, adding to the $22-million it raised last year.
The announcement came several months after Coursera started collecting revenue from students paying to take proctored examinations through the company’s “Signature Track” program.
The program has generated more than $800,000 since January, a portion of which has gone to the universities that offered the Signature Track MOOCs on the Coursera platform. So far, Signature Track is the company’s “only significant source of revenue,” said Nikki Sequeira, a spokeswoman, via e-mail.
Coursera recently said it would expand the Signature Track offerings to include courses for teachers in training, taking aim at an arm of professional education whose traditional programs have faced blistering criticism.
Coursera is also seeking revenue streams that have less to do with MOOCs than with providing technology and services for public universities to use in their tuition-based, credit-bearing online courses. In May the company struck deals with 10 public institutions. Under the terms of those deals, the universities could pay Coursera to help them develop and support online courses for enrolled students.
Coursera said it would use the new investment to expand the Signature Track program to additional MOOCs and increase its university partnerships, according to a news release. The company also plans to expand its efforts to translate courses for foreign audiences, improve the options for private and group study, and open up the Coursera platform to third-party developers.