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Coursera Launches Hands-on Learning Feature

Coursera has introduced Coursera Labs, a new offering that allows learners to work hands-on with almost any third-party software application, without any environment setup or software downloads.

Labs projects can be stand-alone or integrated into course offerings. By simply clicking a button, learners will be able to work on programming assignments using "in-demand tools" such as Jupyter Notebook, RStudio, VS Code, cloud software consoles and "almost any" native desktop application, according to a news announcement. Educators can also create custom applications in the Labs environment to help learners learn skills in business, marking and humanities.

The new feature comes on the heels of Coursera's acquisition of Rhyme Softworks, an online platform for hands-on projects. The company plans to "use Rhyme to extend the capabilities [offered] with Coursera Labs."

University of London piloted Coursera Labs to provide support for its Introduction to Computer Programming course. Developers at the university created a custom application called Sleuth that gives students the opportunity to write code to solve a series of interactive detective puzzles.

Coursera is also working with the University of Michigan and University of Illinois on pilot projects through Coursera Labs. The company expects a full rollout of Coursera Labs by the end of this year.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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