Class is in session — with Dustin Hoffman and Serena Williams

by Kia Kokalitcheva, Fortune

A recent startup sells online classes by big name celebrities. Aspiring actors already look to Dustin Hoffman for how to perform in front of cameras. Now they can get a more formal acting lesson from the Oscar Award winner. MasterClass, a startup premiering Tuesday, sells online courses about a variety of topics taught by experts and, in some cases, celebrities like Hoffman and tennis star Serena Williams. The company is debuting with only a handful of courses, but expects to add more soon. In the last few years, online courses have gained traction with students because of the convenience of learning from home and their lower cost. Companies like Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, and Udemy have all attracted big followings for their classes, which are led by both well-known academics as well as little-known professionals.

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