3 Questions for Coursera’s Alexandra City


After I discovered that  Dr. Alexandra City lately finished her EdD (Physician of Training) whilst running full-time at Coursera, I needed to pay attention extra. Alexandra graciously responded my questions on her graduate analysis, her paintings at Coursera, and her recommendation for others hoping to apply a identical profession trail. 

Q1: Let us know about your position at Coursera.

At Coursera, I’m a primary finding out dressmaker at the Instructing & Finding out Workforce, targeted extensively at the content material construction procedure, bettering the platform, and advancing on-line pedagogy. My background is in Tutorial Neuroscience, making use of how the human mind learns to give a boost to instructing environments. Whilst all the way through the day, I paintings with universities to construct fine quality on-line levels, I’ve additionally lately finished an absolutely on-line stage as a scholar, the place I performed analysis to grasp and higher fortify feminine freshmen in on-line STEM lessons. My position at Coursera is all about infusing finding out sciences analysis into our easiest practices to empower companions and scholars.

One undertaking I’m in particular happy with is how we have been in a position to quantify the results of more than a few instructing methods. As an example, infrequently we bring to mind observe quizzes as merely additional paintings, each for instructors to create and scholars to take, however on Coursera, we will be able to isolate the have an effect on of various instructing strategies and resolve that the inclusion of observe actions can pressure important will increase to freshmen’ route patience, ability construction, and eventual profession results. See Coursera’s Drivers of High quality file for extra main points.

Q2: You simply were given your Physician of Training from Johns Hopkins College.  What used to be your dissertation, and the way does your analysis relate for your paintings at Coursera?

My dissertation consisted of 2 number one analysis research. The primary used to be about higher working out why women folk are much less more likely to retain in STEM MOOCs even after controlling for his or her systematic decrease enrollment charges when put next with male friends. Then, combining the ones new insights with different analysis literature findings, I designed temporary, novel interventions and examined them by means of a randomized keep an eye on trial so that you can shut the gender hole in STEM route of entirety.

The spine of this paintings used to be diving into analysis on what empowers women folk and freshmen from much less prosperous communities, particularly round boosting their intrinsic motivation. I’m these days running on summarizing articles of my dissertation, which I am hoping to have publicly to be had within the coming months. Preview: the consequences have been in reality promising, with a number of important boosts in feminine retention. I’m additionally tremendous excited that we’re taking what we discovered and the use of it to make our product and platform even higher.

This paintings is particularly a very powerful now, because the COVID-19 pandemic introduced disproportionately extra girls to the platform than earlier years and resulted in increased feminine enrollment numbers, with 37% of STEM enrollments in 2022 from girls in comparison to 31% in 2019 (Girls and Talents File). This greater proportion of feminine freshmen enrolling in clinical and technical lessons makes in-course interventions to give a boost to their retention much more important.

At Coursera, our paintings on a daily basis is devoted to the tens of millions of freshmen international looking to higher their lives and their households’ long term via finding out new abilities on-line. Our new learn about, Girls and On-line Finding out in Rising Markets, evolved in partnership with IFC and the Eu Fee, quantifies how on-line finding out can result in significant profession results. We wish to be certain that all teams of freshmen are succeeding within the on-line lessons we offer and are persistently iterating to higher fortify our extremely numerous neighborhood on Coursera, particularly those that are historically underrepresented in upper schooling. I see it as each an honor and a duty to assist our freshmen’ goals transform their fact.

Q3: What recommendation do you have got for present doctoral scholars who wish to find out about alternatives out of doors of the standard college direction and doubtlessly wish to paintings at a finding out and era corporate like Coursera?

Doctoral systems supply rigorous coaching on eating and carrying out analysis, which might be a very powerful abilities for any Twenty first-century process. Whilst many scholars assume a doctorate is just for the ones occupied with academia, I might argue that those important analysis abilities can and can permit you to in a huge vary of careers.

Popping out of a doctorate, you’ll have the facility to shape a well-crafted speculation, design a framework to check it, accumulate the related information, and analyze your findings. Whether or not you’re occupied with schooling, healthcare, sustainability, or one thing else, any corporate in those complicated industries wishes strategic thinkers who can problem assumptions, discover new insights, and take a look at new concepts.

So far as recommendation is going, I might say get started via discovering firms with objectives that excite you. Examine what open roles or present groups they’ve. The place do your abilities align with their process descriptions? Are there explicit subjects or abilities you haven’t but encountered? Use those roles that passion you as a information towards what lessons to take subsequent. Then, whilst you land an interview, you’ll speak about now not handiest your related revel in but additionally how you have got upskilled explicit to their process description. It presentations you’ll take true initiative to get the process accomplished. Plus, it’s at all times a receive advantages to continue to learn!



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