April 18th, 2014 | University

Levin discusses Coursera

Former University President Richard Levin made an appearance on national television, by way of the Charlie Rose show, Wednesday evening.

Levin has appeared on Rose’s show multiple times before but this appearance focused on his new capacity as chief executive of the online-education venture Coursera.

“It’s really the perfect job for me,” Levin told Rose when asked about his new position. “I guess I like running things.”

On the show, Levin ran through Yale’s history of online engagement — from an initial collaboration with Stanford and Oxford in 2000 to Open Yale Courses and eventually putting Yale classes on Coursera.

Tools like Coursera, Levin said, allow universities to reach far broader audiences. For instance, approximately 20,000 people will complete Yale professor Robert Shiller’s course on Coursera. Twenty thousand, he said, is more than twice the total number of students Shiller has taught in his career.

Levin noted that as an academic, he studied innovation economics, which he said has provided him with a strong analytical framework for thinking about online education.

Among other things, Levin said that online education will allow workers to improve their skills by taking classes.

Levin last appeared on Rose’s show in the spring of 2013.