With the advances and availability of technology, traditional classrooms delivery systems are transforming into online learning opportunities. Current avenues of instruction include college and university courses developed and maintained by the institutions. Due to costs and the speed of emerging innovations, much of the online coursework is transferring to companies with the funding, staff, and technology platforms to support and deliver the curriculums. Here are five innovative companies to watch in the next 5 years.

UdacityUdacity

Udacity is the brainchild of Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, Mike Sokolsky, and David Evans. This online learning delivery system was inspired by a free online course offered at Stanford and taken by about 160,000 students.

The team of co-founders and experts from Stanford broadened one class into an entire online computer science curriculum that incorporates video lectures, online quizzes, and exercises. Basic courses offer introductions to Computer Science, Physics, and Statistics. Intermediate classes cover Algorithms, Web Development, Software Testing, and Programming Languages. Other intermediate courses include Differential Equations in Action, HTML5 Game Development, Software Debugging, and Interactive Rendering. Theoretical Computer Science, and Artificial Intelligence.

Advanced classes review Design of Computer Programs, Parallel Programming, Functional Hardware Verification, Artificial Intelligence for Robotics, and Applied Cryptography. The goal of Udacity is democratizing education. Funding from Charles River Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sebastian Thrum contribute to this private educational organization.

Website: Udacity

UdemyUdemy

In 2010, Udemy founders Eren Bali, Oktay Caglar, and Gagan Biyani decided to offer an online platform to provide teaching and learning classroom opportunities for a population who lacked a venue and technical knowledge of running online courses.

Funding sources include investors who also supported Yelp, YouTube, and Linkedin. With this model, anyone can design or take a class. Individual instructors prepare their curriculums and set the cost as being free or for a fee. Class can consist of traditional or non-traditional subjects. Instructors often add a certificate of completion. Some topics include training in Excel and Microsoft, entrepreneurism, product development, and photography.

Website: Udemy

CourseraCoursera

Coursera is a free online education service. Originated by two professors from Stanford, this delivery model offers access to 33 member schools from around the world. Participants include Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of London, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Activities include watching videos, completing assignments, and taking quizzes. Peer interaction connects over a million students, or Courserians. This social entrepreneurship company envisions empowering millions of people around with world with a chance to take classes from the top schools with a view of improving lives.

Website: Corsea

2u2U

Since 2008, John Katzman, Jeremy Johnson, and education professionals have focused their efforts to connect students with online classes from the colleges and universities of their choice. Semester Online creates a platform for institutions of higher learning to connect with students who want to work online for credit classes that lead to degrees. 2U takes care of the technical aspects of online course delivery.

The 2U’s goal is that by 2012, any undergraduate student can take any class online globally. 2U has about $100 million funded. Some of the partners from higher education include a Master of Public Health from the George Washington University and a Master of Science in Nursing from Georgetown University. The University of North Carolina offers a Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration. The University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education offers masters programs, while the School of Social Work provides a Masters of Social Work curriculum. Washington University in St. Louis has initiated the first online Master of Laws in U.S. Law for Foreign Lawyers, who can complete the degree in their own countries.

Website: 2U

universityofthepeople-300x199University of the People

The University of the People is billed as “The World’s First Tuition-Free Online University dedicated to the democratization of higher education.” The U of the People is a private non-profit institution that focuses on Business Administration and Computer Science classes leading to Associates and Bachelors degrees.

The university is planning for accreditation. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education provides approval for the university to operate. The institution dates from 2009, begun by founder and current president Shai Reshef. The educational entrepreneur has affiliated the University of the People with the United Nations GAID, as well as Yale Law School ISP, and the Clinton Global Initiative. Some educational affiliations include New York University and student internships with Hewlett-Packard. The university is supported by several donors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In this online educational model, students pay a $50 application processing fee and a $100 testing fee for each class.

Website: University of the People

This article was written with the help of Christina Daniel who is fascinated with the way technology is impacting education. She provides free software resources at Downloadhaus where you can download 7zip for free.