Depending on who you ask, massive open online courses are either the future of education or chronically overhyped. Coursera, the largest provider of courses from universities, got a big boost in image when it announced that Yale’s former president, Rick Levin, would take over as the company’s CEO.
Levin, an economist by training, led Yale for 20 years before retiring in 2012. He’s credited with significantly improving the university’s finances and safeguarding its reputation. Before retiring, he was the Ivy League’s longest serving president, and one of the United States’ best regarded university administrators. He was an early adopter of web courses, offering them to alumni as far back as 2000.
In a recent interview with Quartz, Levin spoke about his vision for online education. He says he took the job for the chance to reach millions of people, but sees the Coursera’s niche, for now, as a provider of skills and training within the labor market, rather than a way to reduce the price of post-secondary education.