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Coursera CEO, Rick Levin: Leaders Must Communicate Their Vision

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37K views|9 years ago
💫 Short Summary

The speaker discusses their tenure as president of Yale, focusing on investments, urban citizenship, internationalization, and campus expansion. They highlight the importance of clear communication, community engagement, and strategic decision-making, including the establishment of Coursera. The shift towards online education, democratization of learning, and challenges faced by universities in adapting to technology are addressed. The speaker emphasizes the value of online platforms like Coursera in reaching a global audience, providing economic opportunities, and lifelong learning. Balancing financial decisions with organizational values, transparency, integrity, and the irreplaceable value of the live university experience are key themes discussed.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Challenges faced as president of Yale in 1993.
01:27
Facing a $20 million deficit, decaying infrastructure, and a struggling city of New Haven.
Emphasis on massive investments to improve campus and city.
Importance of internationalization and balancing strengths in various fields.
Impact of changing world and globalization on strategy at Yale.
Yale's initiative towards urban citizenship in New Haven and the challenges faced in gaining community support and trust.
03:54
The board's initial hesitancy due to New Haven's reputation, but eventual support for significant investments.
Building relationships with community leaders, political figures, and organizations through volunteerism and systematic outreach efforts.
Involving students and faculty in initiatives like improv theaters and tree planting to win over the community and gain support for redevelopment projects.
Successful efforts leading to support for downtown revitalization and other development projects.
Importance of articulating a clear vision and gaining support from faculty or staff.
07:26
Effective communication, answering questions, and being open to suggestions are key components.
Persuasion and patience are necessary to achieve consensus.
Successful strategies include investing in infrastructure and internationalization.
Opening a campus in Singapore faced pushback but was ultimately supported after dialogue and consideration.
Importance of Managing Unhappy Individuals in Education Administration.
11:09
Critical thinking is crucial in education to counterbalance engineering-focused education.
Considered setting up a liberal arts college in China but chose Singapore for its multicultural environment and academic freedom.
Negotiated a contract to protect academic freedom on campus in Singapore.
Public protests in Singapore require permits.
Transition from Yale to Coursera.
14:47
Coursera has over 10 million users and is growing exponentially.
Decision to join Coursera was influenced by meeting the co-founders and opportunity to take the platform to the next level.
Focus on internationalization aligns with speaker's previous work, and Yale's early involvement in online education is mentioned.
Despite past challenges, the speaker is optimistic about Coursera's potential and impact of technology on education.
The shift towards online educational platforms like Coursera, Udacity, and edX is discussed.
17:31
The potential for professors to reach a larger global audience through online education is highlighted.
MOOCs are primarily attracting college-educated white males, prompting efforts to promote outreach to underrepresented populations.
Online education is recognized as valuable for individuals in developing countries with limited access to traditional higher education institutions.
This shift towards online education provides new opportunities for learning and growth.
Strategies to reach learners in developing countries.
21:12
Creating live learning hubs in US embassies is a key approach.
Mobile technology is becoming increasingly popular, with 30% of students accessing content on phones and tablets.
Coursera partners with universities to provide high-quality content, setting them apart from competitors.
Monetization strategy includes offering free education with optional verification for a fee, discounted in developing countries.
Importance of Business Communities Recognizing Value of Free Courses for Skill-Building.
23:49
Emphasis on the need for courses meeting the demands of the business community, with a focus on specializations like data science and Android programming.
Speaker's reflection on leadership journey from academia to a startup environment, highlighting similarities in leadership principles such as having a vision and enabling people.
Comparison of decision-making speed between academia and the fast-paced internet environment, where constant testing, iteration, and strategic choices are vital.
Challenges in renegotiating agreements with universities for content moderation on online platforms.
27:51
Universities hesitant to adopt internet norms and prefer traditional governance.
Potential for technology to disrupt higher education, but universities will remain influential in society.
History of educational technology and promise of revolutionary advancements highlighted.
Past excitement around programmed learning emphasized, caution needed in expecting immediate miracles from educational technology.
The speaker proposes using computer drills to replace lectures and gamifying language learning through voice recognition technology.
31:47
Traditional education is being revolutionized slowly, with innovations like Khan Academy improving K-12 education.
It is important to reach more people with educational technology rather than completely disrupting the system.
Joining startups can contribute to educational advancements.
Universities face challenges in adapting to online education platforms like Coursera and MOOCs.
The importance of universities redefining their mission to reach a wider audience and have a global impact through online platforms like Coursera.
35:08
Online courses have the potential to provide economic development opportunities and lifelong learning for people worldwide.
Universities play a social role in using technology to expand education beyond elite groups.
University executives face challenges in balancing profitability with broader societal goals.
Balancing organizational values with practicality at Coursera.
37:22
Speaker discusses expanding facilities at Yale and financial impact of crisis on capital projects.
Decision-making process for fundraising for new colleges is explained.
Importance of maintaining traditional naming conventions for colleges to honor founders.
Emphasis on prioritizing values over practical considerations in decision-making at institutions like Yale.
Importance of transparency, integrity, and living by one's values.
41:13
Discussion on the balance between profit motive and fulfilling a mission.
Coursera highlighted for its strong mission of providing universal access to education.
Emphasis on the value of the live university experience for developing soft skills and relationships.
The value of immersive experiences with impactful individuals is emphasized.
44:54
Benefits of these experiences are seen as outweighing the costs.
The potential disruption of traditional higher education by online platforms like Coursera is discussed.
Online credentials are becoming favored over degrees.
The importance of physical interaction, peer learning, social skills, critical thinking, and faculty engagement in traditional education is highlighted as areas where online platforms may fall short.
Importance of providing valuable courses for employees in global companies.
48:45
Creating a platform for companies like Price Waterhouse Coopers to recommend courses.
Goal to provide guidance for smaller companies as well.
Emphasizing the significance of making a positive difference in the world.
Highlighting personal values and desire to create value for others.