Coursera CEO: Colleges will survive the online education revolution

07 May

By John A Byrne

Rick Levin says that true disruption to higher education will take many years and largely affect commuter colleges not known for deep engagement between students and faculty.

Rick Levin, CEO of Coursera
[ Photograph by Daniel Acker—Bloomberg News/Getty Images ]

(Poets&Quants) — When Rick Levin left Yale University two years ago as one of the Ivy League’s most successful presidents in history, he imagined taking a year-long sabbatical, writing on economics and higher education, and perhaps getting back into the classroom to teach.

After a 20-year run as Yale’s president, Levin certainly deserved some time for introspection. But a casual conversation at a New York City party would lead to something quite different than a return to the lecture hall.

After informing an investor of his admiration for a relatively new Silicon Valley startup, Coursera, the online learning platform and advocate of massive open online courses (MOOCs), Levin found himself speaking with founders Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. Initially signed up to be a part-time advisor, Levin was soon offered the larger role of CEO, which he took on in April 2014.

His first year on the job has been a whirlwind, putting the 68-year-old educator at the forefront of a revolution in higher education. Just this week, Coursera announced the first MOOC-based MBA degree with the University of Illinois College of Business. In February, Coursera launched a series of “specializations” in which a school offers a sequence of courses along with a capstone project. Among the most compelling specializations was an offering of four core MBA courses from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Today, the Coursera platform boasts 1,027 courses from 119 partners, including the business schools at the Universities of Michigan and Virginia, IESE Business School in Spain, the Indian School of Business in India, and HEC Paris in France. More than 12.8 million students have registered for courses, including over 1.5 million for Wharton’s more than a dozen Coursera MOOCs.

[ Full article available at Fortune: ]


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