Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India and APAC, Coursera

Raghav leads India and APAC business of Coursera. He is responsible for growing Coursera’s consumer and enterprise business in the region, and thereby bringing the world’s best education to learners. In this role, Raghav is responsible for driving impactful partnerships with leading corporate and government institutions. Raghav has 20 years of experience across consumer, internet, and management consulting industries in India, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Previously, Raghav was India Country Manager at BlaBlaCar, an inter-city carpooling service. Raghav holds an MBA from INSEAD in France and is a recipient of the INSEAD Syngenta Scholarship for Emerging Country Leadership.


COVID-19 has impacted over 1.5 billion learners in 165 countries across the globe. To support countries to scale up their best distance learning practices and reach children and youth who are most at its risk, UNESCO launched a global education coalition, which is a multi-sector partnership to provide appropriate distance education for all learners. It brings together the experience and expertise of multilateral partners, the private sector, philanthropic and non-profit organizations and media outlets.

Coursera, in collaboration with its partners, has launched a global effort to make its course catalog available, for free, to all impacted colleges and universities world over. Universities can sign up to provide their enrolled students with access to more than 3,800 courses and 400 Specializations from Coursera’s top university and industry partners. These institutions will have access until July 31, 2020, after which we plan to provide month-to-month extensions depending on prevailing risk assessments. We have already received over 20,000 inquiries from 120+ countries. We look forward to expanding this initiative with UNESCO and other coalition members to ensure learning and education for all young people during this crisis.

Increase in Number of Users

Thousands of universities and colleges have turned to Coursera at these particularly challenging times. We have received more than 3700 queries from colleges and universities. We are humbled to receive such massive interest from across India. Over 1290 campuses have already signed up, and we have activated access for more than 835 of them. Symbiosis Institute of Technology, World University of Design, BML Munjal University, National Rail and Transportation Institute, NMAM Institute of Technology, University of Engineering & Management, and many more are a few taking the lead to respond to the crisis.

We are also seeing a growing number of new learners coming on the Coursera platform and a broadened content consumption trend. Comparing the past 30 days (as of April 8) with the same period one year ago, the new registration grew 539% (YoY) and enrollment increased 465% (YoY). Enrollment in Public Health content saw a 2561% (YoY) increase.  To be the place where so many come to learn and grow, and to seek comfort and clarity, is an honor that we accept with humility.

Coursera’s Presence in India

Online learning has democratized access to the best education world has to offer. Coursera has more than 6 million learners on its platform in India. Online learning strongly complements the existing education system and can help educational institutions scale up and broaden their reach. For professionals to be able to continue learning throughout their careers to stay skilled and relevant to the dynamic job market, online learning is the solution. We strongly believe that online learning platforms, like Coursera, are crucial to the education ecosystem, workforce transformation and individuals skilling needed for the jobs of tomorrow.

India is the second-largest market for Coursera. We work with many universities and colleges who have partnered with Coursera to provide high-quality new age content to their on-campus students. Some of these campuses are Manipal University, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Shiv Nadar University (SNU), UPES, Pearl Academy, KL University. These universities are early adopters of Coursera for Campus platform, launched in Oct 2019. We have seen growing interest among campuses to provide their students with access to our course catalogue.

The current pandemic has forced educational institutions across the globe to close campuses. India has over 37 million students enrolled in higher education across thousands of universities and colleges. Traditionally, campuses have not invested enough in building technological backbone and digital competency to weather this crisis. It is a period of forced experimentation for universities around the world – akin to what we witnessed during the Y2K crisis that compelled institutions to upgrade their technical infrastructure. The pandemic requires universities to rapidly offer online learning to their students. Fortunately, technology and content are available to help universities transition to online quickly and with high-quality. Consistent to our mission of serving learners everywhere, on March 12, Coursera announced free access to its catalogue for impacted universities, and we have received a humbling response.

Coursera’s Unique Offerings

With 4,100+ courses, 430+ Specializations, 8 MasterTrack™ Certificates, 15 Professional Certificates, and 17 degrees, Coursera has a vast course catalogue offering learners enough choices to explore their interests and build skills necessary to transform career and life.  Coursera makes online learning highly personalized by better understanding learners’ career aspirations and then providing them with a richer, and more applied learning experience, and employer-recognized credentials. Using advanced technologies, Coursera has built a robust platform with technology integrations like live video sessions with professors, Slack integration for communication with peers and mentors, and remotely proctored exams. Coursera mobile app makes it all the more easy and convenient for the students to access content remotely and submit assignments on the go. Our platform allows learners to download the lectures and assignments to work on it offline, and later seamlessly upload them for a grade when bandwidth returns. Such innovations are necessary to facilitate on the go learning.

To help universities, colleges and its staff, including faculty members, Coursera launched the Coursera for Campus platform last year. The platform allows colleges to not only deliver high quality, job-relevant, on-demand learning to students; it also offers various tools to the faculty and administrators to ensure learning happens as per their design and plan.

Some of the features available to the faculty include:  

  • Curate courses:
    • Universities can map courses to their curriculum – they can choose from pre-configured Essential Skills Collections or customize based on specific curriculum needs. Simply swap them out with new courses from the broader Coursera catalog or with courses universities have authored themselves.
    • Custom university branded portal – students will experience Coursera for Campus as a seamless extension of their university learning experience
    • Administrators can manage learners and programs centrally
    • Manage invitations & whitelist participants
    • Set consumption limits
  • Track progress with analytics
    • Measure learner activity, progress, and feedback
    • Evaluate contract utilization
  • Integrations
    • Universities often have their own LMS. Coursera for Campus will come with API access for LMS integration.
  • Authoring tools
    • World-class authoring tools, developed in partnership with top universities, are now available to every university – they can publish content including assessments, lessons and courses exclusively for their learners and integrate courses for blended learning
    • Develop specific content for certain audiences (e.g. incoming students and alumni) to complement core curriculum or launch new programs
  • Gradebook integration:
    • Increase flexibility and control with extensive grading capabilities
    • Understand individual learner’s performance (e.g. number of assignment attempts, score by each attempt, average score)
  • Private sessions
    • Faculty can publish private content that is available only to students and alumni of their university
  • Single sign-on
    • Manage learner access at scale with University SSO, offering data protection and best in class identity management.
    • Use learner affiliation (to provide streamlined access and manage the lifecycle – Prospect, Applicant, Admitted, Student, Alumni)
  • Plagiarism detection
    • Review student submissions process rigorously to ensure academic integrity, especially for credit-eligible courses
    • Utilize Turnitin integrations, anonymous peer reviews and unique URLs (preventing link sharing)

Online Learning Trends to Follow

Over the past several years, educational institutions, industry bodies, and businesses have noticed the potential of online learning and are aggressively exploring it to their benefits. All the perception challenges have been addressed by business leaders and academicians from across the world. In India, the government’s nod for online degree programs is a strong indication of the extensive integration of online learning in Indian higher education.

Content quality and the effectiveness of online learning has been under scrutiny for long but not anymore. At Coursera, we aim to partner with the world’s top 200 universities. We also work with global industry leaders like Google, Intel, and IBM to create career-focused and aligned to in-demand technologies and business skills that universities don’t teach. Content partnership with industry players ensures that our learners are future-ready and are abreast with industry-relevant skills.

We are experiencing a watershed moment for education systems. As universities develop their digital competencies, education space will not remain the same – today’s short-term response to a crisis will likely become an enduring digital transformation of higher education.

Most of the learning will move online, and even the on-campus programs will have a substantial online component. Along with building digital capability, universities will start producing digital content for their existing curriculum and new course launches using widely available, cost-effective authoring tools. They will also have the option to combine that with live lectures or custom assessments. Though slowly, online learning was already transforming higher education; however, now, it will happen at a rapid speed and scale.

Advice to the Learners

The future of education and the future of work is converging. Competency development and reskilling have become a way of life, not a stage in life. It’s the only way to adapt as work becomes increasingly volatile and uncertain.

Lifelong learning and constant upskilling are the ways to survive and thrive in an ever-evolving business and work scenario. The current situation is highly volatile, learners should focus on building the right skills to stay on top and in demand. (As told to the Editor)

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