Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been pretty good at attracting crowds, but personal interaction with the instructor is difficult. Coursera is looking at providing one-on-one online discussions between student and instructor.
“Down the road, we’ll probably go to a premium layer that you could pay for that would give you live interaction with a professor by video or something like that—a seminar within a MOOC,” CEO Rick Levin told Wired.
Levin compared the idea to Google Hangout, a feature that allows videoconferencing from a computer or mobile device. Coursera is running more than 800 MOOCs, so the scale would be much larger. At the same time, it would be another way for the company to make money as students would be charged to participate in the online seminars.
“We think higher-touch interaction will appeal to some people,” Levin said. “It’s a way to get some money out of the lifelong-learner population, as opposed to the career-builder.”