E377: Daphne Koller – Cofounder, Coursera



about this episode

Online learning, in the form of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has become a massive business. At the university level, there’s EdX, Udacity, and of course, Coursera. One of Coursera’s cofounders, Daphne Koller, is a computer scientist at Stanford, who until recently, was best known for her research on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Coursera, however, is about human learning. The platform makes classes at the nation’s top universities available online, to anyone, for free. Students can earn certificates, and the company is working toward translating those certificates into course credit, that can be transferred into degree-seeking programs. In the meantime, with keyboard biometrics and detailed logging of each click, Coursera plans to use its troves of data to better understand how people learn. Within 5 years, Koller says, Coursera will have the curriculum of a medium to large university.  From LAUNCH Education & Kids, check out this fantastic interview.

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2:22 What do you think of Lynda?

3:28 It seems like one might use Lynda to acquire the skills necessary to take some [Coursera] courses.

3:43 How did Coursera even start? What was the genesis of the idea?

5:25 It’s a commercial venture, backed by venture capitalists. What’s the relationship with universities and how do they look at it?

6:20 So far I’ve heard free-free-free. At what point does paid turn on? Is the accreditation the piece you pay for?

7:35 So I’m a community college and there’s a Stanford professor who’s just the best at machine learning ever. They can give the lectures and the local professor can solve problems based on that lesson.

10:35 Have you experimented with these paid models yet and when does that start?

13:30 This biometric, people have talked about using it for passwords, it never really came to pass.

14:20 What do you think of [University of Phoenix]?

16:38 What does accreditation and verification cost for your service?

17:30 Is it possible that the solution to debt in college might be to do your first two years on Coursera, and then the last two years for $20,000 a year?

19:21 You don’t ever see yourself going into the real world next the Apple store in the mall, the Coursera store. But there are groups out there doing that with Coursera materials.

20:20 That is the big critique is, 100,000 people sign up, and only 40,000 people complete.

22:10 I’ve heard some extraordinary things from professors about a large number of people outperforming the Stanford students in these courses.

23:10 So are these honeypots in a way for the universities? Do the universities look at the courses as ways to capture these (high performing online) students?

23:30 We heard earlier in the event, 60-80% of people signing up for these are non-US. Are those numbers right?

23:40 Can you tell us any statistics about the developing world vs the US on the completion rate?

24:00 Do you find some countries disproportionately represented?

27:10 This is growing internationally. Tell us how.

29:00 People building off the materials. You don’t plan on building locations. If people start building companies around hosting these courses. Would you welcome that?

30:12 What is it today about online courses that seems to working? What’s changed in the last 10 years?

31:29 Do you think this next generation will prefer this mode of education?

32:10 How are professors adapting to it? Is it hard for them?

33:27 What will this look like in 10 years if you’re successful?

35:50 What’s the most frustrating thing today about taking an online course?

37:56 What role do you guys play in motivation, and getting people who have free access to this stuff, to take the courses and follow through? Is that your responsibility?

40:42 The mobile experience is horrible. In Sub Saharan we have no other option. Are you working on the mobile experience?

43:01 With your background in AI and machine learning, are you looking at making the ultimate machine teaching system?

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