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U-M, Coursera offer Chinese learners nearly free access to online courses amid coronavirus outbreak

Written by Laurel Thomas, Michigan News


ANN ARBOR—In response to the coronavirus epidemic that has restricted millions of Chinese people to their homes and towns, the University of Michigan and online learning platform Coursera are offering three popular online data science specializations to learners in China for $1 a month*. 

The specializations are Python for Everybody, the most popular specialization on Coursera; Python 3 Programming; and Applied Data Science with Python.

“When we heard about the challenges faced by scholars and collaborators in China, we knew we wanted to do something to express our concern and lend a hand, U-M School of Information Dean Thomas Finholt and Coursera Chief Executive Officer Jeff Maggioncalda wrote in an announcement of the program.

“After discussing it, Coursera and UMSI have decided the most valuable thing we can offer is the ability to continue learning, even when international travel might be limited.”

The U-M School of Information has a longstanding relationship with students, faculty and institutions in China. A great number of Chinese students enroll in the school’s residential degrees. Some UMSI faculty received education or degrees in China, and some conduct research there.

Specializations are a series of online courses delivered by top university and industry leaders. They help learners master a topic, and the credentials are recognized across industries. Through its Center for Academic Innovation, U-M offers a number of specializations across several disciplines. The three specializations offered to Chinese students include all the features of the paid versions, including UMSI faculty instructors and final certifications.

Coursera specialization pricing varies, with an option to pay monthly subscriptions ranging from $39 to $89. Having the $1 charge associated with the account allows for verification of the certificate when the specialization is completed.

The courses will be offered over the next six months.

Learners in China can visit each specialization page via Michigan Online to enroll with the updated pricing.

*If you are not seeing the $1 a month price, Coursera’s systems may estimate that you are not accessing Coursera from China. This could happen, for example, if your device is using an IP address that is from another region. Be sure to check your connection when you sign up. If you continue to have complications, please visit Learners may also apply for Financial Aid from the course home page.