“Reaching for the (5) stars”: learn how to create a culture of innovation through Coursera’s case study of scaling quality

Workshop Session 1

Brief Abstract

Harness effective start-up tools to cultivate innovative thinking and practice in any organizational setting.
In the workshop you will learn how to:

  • Practice effective user-research techniques
  • Beta test your educational program
  • Use data to constantly improve
  • Develop a “minimum viable product”
  • Create a culture of feedback
  •  Use a learner-centered mindset


As a Teaching and Learning Specialist at Coursera, Talia promotes pedagogical innovations through product development, research and scalable tools and resources for partners from the top Universities in the world, providing an accessible, transformational learning experience to anyone, anywhere. Talia leads the unique Beta Testing program at Coursera and established Coursera’s research-based quality standards for online courses. She is also leading several initiatives towards social impact and diversity, through training and automated tools detecting opportunities to create more inclusive learning environments. Before coming to Coursera, Talia specialized in adult education and change management at the Institute for Leadership and Governance in Israel. There she developed and led programs for executives in Government ministries, NGOs and the private sector, forming cross-sector collaborative initiatives addressing complex social problems. She also served as the senior advisor to the Head of the Education’s department at the Municipality of Jerusalem, overseeing 250,000 students, and thousands of teachers and headmasters. Talia served as a board member for the Linda Feldman Rape Crisis Center, where she also facilitated educational workshops to prevent sexual violence in schools as a volunteer. Talia has extensive experience in formal and informal education and social change, both as a teacher and a program manager in non-profits, schools, Universities and community-based organizations in Israel and the United states. She has a MA degree in Conflict Management and Resolution and a BA in Political Science and Humanities, both from the Hebrew University in Israel.

Extended Abstract

Imagine you are an instructional designer working in an established University. You are keen to generate pedagogical innovations and implement new ways for students to learn. But there are many obstacles: it is not easy to convince your colleagues there is a need for change, there is no dedicated budget and you just never find the time to work on that idea you always wanted to pursue.

This workshop will provide you with several concrete tools and strategies to overcome the obstacles in the way of innovation. Whether you are a professor, administrator or instructional designer, you will find value in this workshop, while you connect with peers and develop your ideas together.

This workshop will include “hands-on” activities that offer opportunities to practice newly acquired skills such as learner-research, brainstorming and developing an “MVP” for your own innovative ideas. The active engagement and participation of attendees will be key to the success of the workshop.

The learning objectives for the workshop are:

·      Explain the CATFISH strategies to cultivate a culture of innovation

·      Practice effective user-research techniques for quick feedback cycles

·      Outline a beta test for your educational program

·      Develop a “minimum viable product” plan

·      Empathize with your learner

Through a case study demonstrating how Coursera addresses the complex question of scaling quality on a MOOC platform with a 20,000,000 learner-base, you will learn the basic components of an innovative work environment (CATFISH):

·      Competitive research

·      Analyzing data to make informed decisions

·      Talking to learners (and listening!)

·      Flexibility

·      Iteration, testing and feedback

·      Sharing information, collaborative culture

·      Hypothesize – validate – innovate!

The “CATFISH” strategies presented in the workshop can be implemented in any organization, from the management level, to the individual course or project. Each participant will find useful insights to share with colleagues or implement in the work space. Most importantly, the workshop will allow participants to spend time developing their own ideas, leveraging the valuable feedback available to them from their peers in the workshop.

Participants will return to their organizations and institutions with a toolkit of concrete strategies and methods for cultivating innovative thinking and practice, as well as an outline for a concrete idea or innovative project they can continue to develop and implement.

Coursera is the leading platform for MOOCs worldwide, offering more than 1500 courses from 150 of the best Universities in the world, providing access to transformative education for anyone, anywhere.

The Teaching and Learning team at Coursera focuses on helping learners achieve their goals, by providing guidance and research-based best practices to University partners, working with them to create high-quality online courses, specializations, certificates and degrees. The team also guides product development and leads technological innovations rooted in good pedagogy and learning science.

Join us and begin your journey as an entrepreneur in your professional setting!

[Estimated time needed for workshop: 2-3 hours.]