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Coursera Founder Daphne Koller takes the stage at Techrunch Disrupt

Daphne Koller took the stage at Techcrunch Disrupt to talk about completion rates, credentials, role of professors, popular MOOCs, and more


Last Week, Coursera  founder Daphne Koller took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014. She was interviewed by Techcrunch’s Frederic Lardinois. On being pressed about attaching a moknier to 2014 (2012 was Year of MOOCs – New York Times), Daphne noted that 2014 will be the year when MOOCs will come of age. Below, we take a look at some of the key topics that were discussed.


Completion Rates

On being grilled about completion rates, Daphne Koller expanded on the 5% completion rate statistic. Of all the people who click on the enroll button, half of them don’t show up. Out of those who show up, 50% look at the first lecture. For those who actual mean to complete, 70% of them do. This is one number Coursera can work to improve upon. For Students signing up for Verified Certificates, 80-90% do complete the course.

On Demand Courses

Moving forward Coursera is making a shift towards on demand/self paced courses. One reason is to tackle completion rates. One of Coursera’s strength is a large number of students taking the course at the same time and helping each other in the forums. On being asked, about how this would work in a self paced model. Daphne talked about ‘flash cohorts’ – a group of potentially 5000 students taking the course at the same time.

Popular/Unpopular Courses

Some of the most popular courses on Coursera are as follows:

1) Social Psychology by Wesleyan University – 240k enrollments
2) Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems by University of Maryland, College Park – 250k+ enrollments
3) Learning how to Learn by University of California, San Diego – 200k enrollments

Some of the not so popular courses are the ones in foreign language.


Daphne mentioned that students finds Coursera credentials very valuable with over 70% learners mentioning the Coursera courses in their LinkedIn profile or Resume. Coursera is creating a new affordable credential for the 21st century.

Universities and MOOCs

On being asked how Universities see MOOCs, Daphne noted that Universities see MOOCs as expanding their market and not cannibalizing it. MOOCs are transforming the way Universities teach. Using the blended/flipped classroom model is changing the role of professor.  Instead of teaching, Professors guide discussions, debates, labs, projects etc. Students who were failing in the traditional model are now succeeding in the blended learning model.

Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

Comments 1

  1. mgozaydin

    World is indebted to you
    You made online by elite universities famous under the name MOOCs.
    You are a marketing genious . I am from Stanford too 1963-1968 graduate work all .
    Please work on degrees for MOOCs . Charge a fee of $ 100-200 per course.
    Make courses same as oncampus courses by the same professors .
    You will make billlions $ profits. too ..No harm. It is good everybody should win .
    With degrees and 100 member univesities you can have 1 million face to face + 4 million online students .
    Imagine there are 5 courseras in the USA with 25 million students from best schools of the USA.
    World and all Americans will be indebted to you me included . Obama too. Arne Duncan too.


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