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Students Rush to Web Classes, but Profits May Be Much Later

This is the second article in a series that will examine free online college-level classes and how they are transforming higher education. Some hallways at Coursera are covered with notes with ideas on them. The co-founders, computer science professors at Stanford University, watched with amazement as enrollment passed two million last month, with 70,000 new students a week signing up for over 200 courses, including Human-Computer Interaction, Songwriting and Gamification, taught by faculty members at the company's partners, 33 elite universities. In less than a year, Coursera has attracted $22 million in venture capital and has created so much buzz that some universities sound a bit defensive about not leaping onto the bandwagon.

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