Richard C. Levin, the former president of Yale University, has announced that he will take over as CEO of the MOOC platform Coursera, and he will lead the company in an aggressive pursuit of the Chinese market. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Levin, who has extensive experience in China, will also work on expanding Coursera’s presence there. Already, he said, China is the second-biggest source of Coursera enrollment, after the United States.“It’s growing rapidly, and I’m very much hoping my relations with Chinese university presidents and the Ministry of Education will help that along,” he added.
The Yale Daily News adds:
“I have a sense of how the Chinese educational system operates, I think that knowledge will be helpful,” Levin said. “There is a great interest in China in using more interactive forms of instruction.”
The developing world is a key market for online education providers. Countries like China and India have large populations hungry for education, and putting classes online does away with the need to build expensive campuses abroad.This hire shows that, the skepticism about MOOCs notwithstanding, the academic elite is still betting on online education’s success.