Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ex-Yale president to head Coursera MOOC site

Levin said that the move from the established Ivy League to the new world of online learning is not
as big a leap as it may seem: “It’s the dissemination of human knowledge. This was traditionally done through published books and articles, but this is a far more immediate and direct way to take what goes on in a Yale or Princeton classroom and make it accessible to a multitude of students.”

He doesn’t believe online learning will replace brick-and-mortar schools but rather holds great promise for audiences who traditionally don’t have access to higher education, including workers over 30 and  people in developing countries.

“This is literally getting to millions of people whose lives are being enriched and whose employment opportunities are being enhanced,” he said.

He has for years had an interest in online education. Yale first became involved in online education in 2000, in a partnership  he helped start with Oxford and Stanford universities, but he said that the technology back then was rudimentary and not able to provide anywhere near the interactive experiences that Coursera now provides. He also helped launch Open Yale Courses in 2007, and supported an initiative to put Yale’s vast museum and library collections online for free use.