SHANGHAI—Promising to “truly revolutionize education, in every sense of the word.” MOOC startup Coursera today announced the launch of their first physical product, a personal digital learning device they’re calling A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer.
“Women are the future,” said Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller, remarking that the number one barrier young girls continue to face is poor access to education. “We wanted to reflect that in our first release.”
Alongside co-founder Andrew Ng, Koller showed the device to a packed room of journalists, many of whom ooh’d and aah’d as she stepped through the demonstration. The new tablet-like device uses advanced E Ink and a 24/7 cloud connection to bring leading-edge learning to students all over the world.
It’s a freemium product, with several tiers of personalization available, depending on the customer’s ability to pay. Ng says this model allows Coursera to become profitable, while ensuring that as many learners as possible will have access to their tech.
“It’s no secret that the next century is going to be one of the most challenging our civilization has ever faced,” Ng remarked. “Our entry level users will gain the skills they need to thrive in the coming unrest. Paying customers will gain the skills they need to lead it. As a bonus, they’ll have a virtual army ready to take up the call.”
“It’s win, win,” says Koller. “With our cloud-based personality profile detectors, we can help ensure that tomorrow’s workers are matched with the leadership they require, ensuring that everyone gets a better life.”
For more premium customers, Coursera offers one on one personalized tutorials run by specially trained instructors that Coursera is calling Storytellers. “With that individual touch, we can give young and dynamic disruptors the personal narratives that will shape them into young adults with a fighting chance to save the world,” says Ng. Thanks to a patent-pending usage prediction algorithm that Coursera is calling Story Rhythm™ they guarantee 98% uptime for on-demand interaction with your individual tutor.
“Need personal advice at 4am? We can do that,” says Ng. “It’s not cheap, but isn’t your child worth it?”
For even more concerned parents, Coursera is offering a suite of special safety services that will monitor your child’s health and wellbeing, summoning security forces or other emergency personnel should trouble arise.
Coinciding with the launch, Coursera is announcing a slate of new hiring. They’re looking for young teachers with a gift for acting. A willingness to commit to long contracts working in remote locations is a must, says Koller. Previous experience as a percussionist is also nice to have.
With rising unemployment in the failing traditional education sector, we suspect Coursera will have no shortage of applicants.
No word yet on why so much of the event’s décor was Steampunk-themed.