From their experience teaching 100,000 students in "massively open online courses," Two groups of Stanford professors founded two rival startups, Coursera and Udacity, in 2012. Udacity's Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun created all their courses in-house, while Coursera's Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng partnered with leading universities to present their best professors' stuff across all disciplines.
"Our cardinal rule, our touchstone was “what’s the best for the students,” says Koller. "Stanford alone? Or multiple top universities? Computer Science or all subjects? The choice was clear cut."
By the fourth quarter of the year, Coursera had 33 university partners, over 300 courses, and 1.6 million students; Udacity had 14 courses & just 112,000 students.
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