New Coursera chief pledges better communication with partners

The incoming head of the largest massive open online course provider has pledged to improve the way it communicates with its university partners.

March 31, 2014

Richard Levin, who was president of Yale University between 1993 and 2013, will become chief executive of Coursera in the middle of next month.

Although he said he was excited to be joining a company that hired the “brightest and best” in Silicon Valley, he added he had heard that some universities were disgruntled about their relationship with the US Mooc platform.

“I will say a word about a concern that I’ve heard from a number of partners already…that we could do a better job of communicating with you and listening to you,” Professor Levin told the 2014 Coursera partner conference, attended by delegates from institutions that offer courses on the platform and taking place in London this week.

It was possible, he said, that with “so many projects going on” at the company, communication could “at times appear one-way…[like] we’re telling you what we want you to do”.

He pledged that steps would be taken to improve the situation. “We want to hear your ideas,” he said, adding that the first priority was to increase the scale of Coursera’s operation, and “attract the revenues to support the mission”.

By the end of last year Coursera was thought to have raised around $85 million (£50 million) in venture capital funding, but how the organisation intends to turn a profit in the long term remains unclear.

Speaking at the event, co-founder of Coursera Andrew Ng offered an update on the amount of money coming in from the platform’s “signature track”, which allows students to pay around $40 to receive an official certificate of achievement.

He said that in the first nine months after the option to pay was introduced in January 2013, the signature track brought in revenues of $1 million. In the following three months, total revenue had doubled to $2 million, and in the three months after that they had doubled again, he said, with total revenues of $4 million.

He said the reason for the increasing popularity of such certificates was that they were becoming increasingly recognised by employers.

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Retired academics calculating moves while playing bowls

Lincoln Allison, Eric Thomas and Richard Larschan reflect on the ‘next phase’ of the scholarly life