Massive open online course provider Coursera is doubling down on degree programs despite recent declines in enrollment and revenue.

Coursera’s degree offerings, which launched in 2020, have not generated substantial revenue or enrollment growth, according to the company’s latest earnings report. However, Coursera executives said degree programs remain a key strategy and priority for the future.

“We believe that over time, as more universities put high-quality courses and programs on Coursera, it will drive continued growth in enrollments and revenue from degrees,” CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said during an earnings call this week. “Degrees are still in their infancy, and we remain focused on enabling more people to access life-changing education and career opportunities at a lower cost.”

Coursera’s total enrollment declined slightly during the second quarter, while revenue grew 6% to $89.3 million, missing analysts’ expectations. The company attributed the misses to delayed launches of new degree programs and credentials, as well as impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite challenges, Coursera ended the quarter with $358 million in cash and reported a net loss of $26.5 million.

While Coursera sees opportunities in degrees, the model also faces significant risks and uncertainty. Degrees represent a new source of revenue for Coursera, but costs are high and competition is fierce. There is no guarantee programs will resonate with learners or that universities will commit to Coursera as a long-term partnership.

Some analysts questioned Coursera’s degree strategy after quarterly results and suggested the company should scale back investments or focus resources elsewhere, at least for now. However, Coursera executives defended their strategy and expressed confidence in their ability to drive future success, despite current obstacles.

“We remain focused on delivering learning experiences and career opportunities that are personally meaningful, socially impactful, and economically transformative at massive scale,” Maggioncalda said.

Still, Coursera’s degree push highlights the challenges massive open online course providers face as they work to diversify revenue streams beyond their core platforms and course offerings. Success is far from guaranteed, even for well-known companies with resources like Coursera. Only time will tell if their bet on degrees pays off.

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