What happened

Shares of 2U Inc. (NASDAQ:TWOU) climbed 15.1% in January, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the online education platform provider not only continued to launch new programs, but also announced a promising new strategic partnership.

To be fair, 2U also had momentum on its side; its stock price more than doubled in 2017 with the help of several strong quarterly reports, its habit of accelerating its schedule for domestic graduate program (DGP) launches, and optimism surrounding its acquisition of online short-course specialist GetSmarter.

College graduation cap and degree sitting atop a pile of books.


So what

But 2U showed no signs of slowing down in January, first announcing a new collaboration between GetSmarter and the UC Berkeley School of Information to offer several technology-focused online short courses geared toward working professionals. The first of those courses will launch in October.

A few weeks later, 2U followed by unveiling another new domestic graduate program involving two master's degrees with the University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education.

If that wasn't enough, on Jan. 22, 2U announced an intriguing multi-year partnership with WeWork, a $20 billion leader in shared workspaces, to provide the more than 13,000 students enrolled in 2U-powered graduate programs with memberships to WeWork locations around the world. 2U also pledged to offer a total of $5 million in scholarships over three years to WeWork members and employees who apply and are accepted into 2U grad programs and GetSmarter's online short courses. 

Now what

This flurry of activity shouldn't be particularly surprising to 2U shareholders. With the company's most recent earnings report in November, 2U increased its 2018 DGP launch goal from 13 to 14 and outlined a target of 16 DGP launches in addition to its first international graduate program in 2019. 

Shares have also given back some of those gains as the broader market pulled back in February. But I also I won't be surprised if 2U once again accelerates its launch cadence when it announces fourth-quarter 2017 results later this month. In the meantime, I think investors should be more than pleased with 2U as it operates from a position of strength today.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.