Websites offering Massive Open Online Courses, better known as MOOCs, have come a long way since bursting onto the scene in 2012. Like the Bitcoin space, a lot of Venture Capital money has been spent across a range of different sites, and supporting services have been popping up around the edges too.
Some sites allow anyone to start their own course, while others only allow the best teachers from the very best universities to instruct. The three largest websites have become very popular and are often referred to as the “ivy league” of MOOCs; Coursera, Udacity, and edX.
Udacity is the most expensive and vocation-oriented of the three, focusing on certifying students for their jobs. EdX is a non-profit, open source initiative between Harvard and MIT, clearly the most technical in focus. However, the largest by far is Coursera, which offers the most classes and the widest array of subjects. Despite offering 1,291 different courses to its 14.8 million students, all of the classes are taught by world-class professors from top universities, and most of them for free.
This week Coursera announced that they are now offering a free course from Princeton University, titled Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies. Open to everyone, the course will run from Sept 4 to Oct 22. According the news and rating site, Class Central, the course is rated in the Top Ten Most Popular MOOCs starting in September 2015.
The course’s instructor is Assistant Professor Arvind Narayanan of Princeton University, who leads the Princeton Web Transparency and Accountability project, a study of how “companies are collecting and using our personal information.” He also studies the security and stability of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for Princeton. In 2008, he jointly received the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Award.