April 13, 2014 7:53 PM
Indeed, Coursera’s newly announced chief executive, Rick Levin, appears to have big ambitions.
“I think we can become financially viable certainly within [a] five-year framework,” Levin, formerly the president of Yale University, said in an interview the New York Timesposted online today.
The sentiment might seem surprising for Coursera, which has gained a reputation of offering online education from top schools, free of charge, for millions around the globe.
In the Times interview, Levin outlined the ways in which Coursera could bring in considerably more revenue.
Right now courses are free and we’re charging for certification. We think that as the idea of using Coursera courses for professional advancement grows, the numbers seeking certificates will grow. And the price we charge probably can grow, too. A move from $50 or $60 for Signature Track to $100 is certainly imaginable. At $100 a pop, if you had two or three, or five million people.
This shift won’t necessarily happen right away. Coursera’s backers are patient.
“I think the principal investors in Coursera understand that this is a long-term play,” he said.