Professor Zelikov, who taught The Modern World: Global History Since 1760, provided some information in his farewell message now that the course is over.
- 47,000 enrolled
- 26,000 sampled at least some part of the class. Since there's no money exchanging hands here, it's pretty easy to enrol on a whim and then not bother to participate.
- 13-15,000 really 'gave it a go' in Zelikov's words
- 5,000 earned Statements of Accomplishments
- 5,000 audited the course seriously but did not get a Statement of Accomplishment. This group would include me. I followed all the lectures, took some notes, took all the quizzes and got almost everything right. But I started the course late and never caught up, so I guess my quizzes didn't count, as I didn't get a Statement of Accomplishment.
It looks as if about a third of the people who enrolled actually took the course seriously. For a course where a student had no 'skin in the game' in terms of a registration fee, this seems like an high rate of participation. And it suggests they were all interested in pure learning, since even a Statement of Accomplishment probably doesn't buy you anything. Yet. Maybe sometime soon Coursera credentials will be worth something more than self-satisfaction.
Zelikov is clearly very gratified by his own participation in the course. He's a busy man, a dean at University of Virginia, so I'm sure this represented a huge commitment of time for him.