Since Coursera’s inception in 2012, over a thousand instructors at our partner institutions have shared their experiences, enthusiasm, and expertise by teaching courses on our platform. Each of these instructors has helped to transform the lives of millions of learners around the world, and this year, we’re delighted to recognize a few of their accomplishments with our first annual Outstanding Educator Awards.
The Outstanding Educator Awards honor three instructors (or instructor teams) whose approaches to online teaching are remarkably innovative, transformative, or beloved by learners. Winners of the 2016 awards were selected by a panel of representatives from Coursera and our partner institutions, and were announced last week at our annual Partners Conference. Read on for more information about each award, and to explore the courses and Specializations taught by these exceptional educators.
Learners First Award Winner
“Learners First” is a guiding principle at Coursera – this simple statement reminds us of the vision that we and our partners strive for, and informs all of the decisions that we make from day to day. This award honors the instructor(s) who best exemplify the “Learners First” principle, as demonstrated by a combination of course ratings and course completions.
Out of over 1,800 courses on Coursera, the teaching team for ASU’s “Teach English Now!” Specialization stood out as delivering a uniquely engaging and high-quality experience that our learners love.
Innovation Award Winner
Richard Griffiths, Emeritus Professor of Economic and Social History and Professor of International Studies at Leiden University and instructor of three courses on Coursera including Be Persuasive: Write a Convincing Position Paper or Policy Advice
Innovation is a core part of Coursera’s mission – by continually exploring new approaches to teaching and learning online, we are finding new opportunities to expand access to the world’s best education. This award honors the instructor who has contributed the most to advance online pedagogy and the Coursera learning experience.
Richard Griffiths has taught three courses on Coursera. In Configuring the World, he experimented with different modes of content delivery, including podcasts, webinars, and a variety of other resources. Configuring the World was the first course to use Leiden volunteers to translate subtitles, and Richard has brought international classrooms together to use the course materials. His Specialization, Challenges in Global Affairs, was one of the first Specializations offered on Coursera, and he is also offering a new project-based course titled Be Persuasive: Write a Convincing Position Paper or Policy Advice.
Transformation Award Winner
Coursera’s vision is to “enable anyone, anywhere to transform their life by accessing the world’s best learning experience.” This award honors the instructor who has contributed most to creating transformative learning experiences on Coursera.
Al Filreis was one of the first instructors to offer a humanities course on Coursera, and his leadership has demonstrated both the feasibility and the importance of teaching humanities online. As a forceful advocate of the principle that poetry can be taught only through discussion, Al made an unprecedented and groundbreaking effort to bring classroom discussion to the online format. His hard work provides learners in “ModPo” (as it is known affectionately to fans) with the transformative opportunity to experience rich academic dialogue as part of a faithful and growing global community.