A couple of years ago, Andrew Ng, the other co-founder of Coursera, left to join Baidu. However, he did stay on in the role of chairman of the Board.
Daphne Koller recently announced in a blog post that she is set to make a similar move; she is leaving Coursera to join Calico, a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google’s parent company). Although she will leave her day-to-day role at Coursera, she will stay on as co-chair of the Board, a role she will share with Andrew Ng.
Here is what Daphne said about the move:
It is time for me to turn to another critical challenge – the development of machine learning and its application to improving human health. This field has been a passion of mine since 2001, when I first started working on it at Stanford. Machine learning is now in the midst of an important transformation, as a variety of high-throughput technologies developed over the past decade are providing unprecedented amounts of data that, when combined with the right analytic methods, can enable novel insights and the development of new therapies for human disease
— Daphne Koller
There is a common thread: the current MOOC revolution was kicked off by three Stanford professors — Sebastian Thrun, Andrew Ng, and Daphne Koller — who all belonged to Stanford’s cutting-edge AI Lab.
AI and machine learning are really hot right now. Just this month, Apple bought the machine learning company, Turi, for $200 million. The company was started by Dr. Carlos Guestrin. He teaches a machine learning Specialization on Coursera, and he got his PhD from Stanford while working under Daphne Koller.
It’s only natural for those three to feel the pull back to their original field of expertise. Even Sebastian Thrun is rumored to be the president of a flying car startup funded by Google’s Larry Page. Thrun recently stepped down from the role of CEO to president at Udacity.
With these three MOOC pioneers moving on, there will be new leadership, vision, and (hopefully) positive advancements in the MOOC space.