Penn State University is among the latest to join an online university network

One of the emerging giants among online universities has announced that it is signing up a further 29 universities, including institutions in the US, Europe and Asia.

Coursera, set up by academics from Stanford University, will now offer online courses from 62 universities.

There are 2.8 million online students registered, says Coursera.

Co-founder Andrew Ng said this was helping universities to "raise their impact both on and off campus".

Coursera, set up less than a year ago, has become one of the pace setters in the rapidly expanding field of online universities – often described as MOOCs (massive open online courses).

It provides an online platform for universities to offer courses for people to study from home.

Global reach

This latest crop of new recruits widens its reach outside the United States, with institutions including the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Ecole Polytechnique in France, Leiden University in Holland, Sapienza University of Rome in Italy, the University of Tokyo in Japan, National University of Singapore and the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

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