By Carl Straumsheim
The massive open online course providers Coursera and edX made competing top-level executive announcements Monday afternoon: Wendy Cebula, former COO of Vistaprint, was named president of edX, while Richard C. Levin, the former president of Yale University, will join Coursera as the company’s new CEO.
The announcements would perhaps not have surprised anyone if they were reversed. EdX, a nonprofit consortium, picked a president with private sector experience; the for-profit Coursera tapped an experienced academic as CEO.
Levin left Yale in 2013 after 20 years as president, and has since January served in an advisory role at Coursera. His arrival shifts the make-up of the MOOC provider’s leadership team. The co-founders, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, will become president and chairman of the board, respectively, while Lila Ibrahim, who was named president last August, will become chief business officer.
Levin brings experience not just in online education, but also in international expansion, which has been a goal for Coursera and other MOOC providers. Yale joined Coursera in the final months of Levin’s tenure. During his time as president, Levin was also a vocal advocate for Yale-NUS College, a partnership with the National University of Singapore to create an undergraduate, residential liberal arts college there. Levin serves on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which late last year recommended that Congress and regional accreditors ease off on regulating MOOC providers.
[ Full article available at Inside Higher Ed: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/03/25/mooc-providers-coursera-and-edx-announce-new-leaders ]