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QuickWire: Coursera Joins Foundation to Offer MOOCs in Spanish

Coursera, a company that helps clients build massive open online courses, will soon expand its reach internationally by offering Spanish-language MOOCs. On Wednesday the company unveiled its latest partnership, with a Mexican philanthropic organization called the Carlos Slim Foundation, and announced plans to translate 50 Coursera courses into Spanish by the end of the year.

“Our alliance with Coursera will allow training in Mexico, Latin America, and in the Hispanic community in the United States, promoting human capital at the highest level,” said Carlos Slim Helú, the businessman and philanthropist behind the foundation, in a news release.

The partnership will focus on courses tailored to Latin America’s employment needs in computer science, health care, and public health. The foundation plans to reach low-income communities by offering MOOCs at its Telmex Digital Libraries, a network of more than 3,000 computer centers that provide free Internet access.

Coursera has been trying to expand outside the United States by creating partnerships with foreign organizations and the U.S. State Department. The company’s free courses have been popular abroad since its inception, but a study last fall suggested that they are not yet reaching the neediest populations. And earlier this week the company said it would bar people from Cuba, Iran, and Sudan from its courses after learning that U.S. export rules classify courses as “services” that cannot be provided in countries subject to U.S. sanctions.

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