Eight Years at Coursera, Always a Courserian 

Hi! I’m Currin Berdine, one of Coursera’s longest-tenured employees, and I’m thrilled to celebrate our 10th birthday with you.   

Since 2014, I have witnessed our team’s incredible accomplishments: from offering hundreds of courses to thousands, expanding our partners to include industry giants and Historically Black Colleges, winning prestigious awards, passing 194 million enrollments, and growing our team from dozens in a tiny office in Mountain View, California to over a thousand employees connected around the world.

So many parts of Coursera remain steadfast. First is living our principles to always learn and grow, as instilled in us continually by our founders Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. In the last eight years, I went from being the team’s first marketing hire to being the marketing team’s first full-time web and email developer. My managers have always encouraged me to grow and they’ve trusted me. I took courses on Coursera to build my skills, learning alongside the people I serve. 

Another part of Coursera that remains unchanged is—as if by some magnetic force—our ability to attract the most caring and talented teammates. Every day, I am impressed by my colleagues’ beautiful work, impressive smarts, heart, and genuine kindness for each other. To any Courserian reading this: you are amazing, and I love working with you! 

~

The most important value that has remained a bedrock: the tenet “Learners First.”

I remember, in my first couple of weeks at Coursera, I was in a meeting that became a heated debate over a product feature. 

Ideas and opinions flew: “What about this way?” and “Hm, I like this other way.” 

“Folks, let’s ask,” a manager paused the conversation, “which way provides the best learner experience? Whichever way is ‘Learners First’ is the answer.”  

Since then, I’ve heard “Learners First” win the debate countless times, and it still always points us to the right answer. 

I’m incredibly proud and grateful to work at Coursera, and I look forward to the years ahead, as we continue to fulfill our mission to deliver the world’s best education to everyone.  

Now, a look back on the early days of Coursera! 

My first official photo at Coursera, taken in December 2013, with managers Lila Ibrahim and Yin Lu. They invited me to the holiday party before I’d even started; I remember how incredibly warm, kind, and welcoming they were. I knew Coursera would be the right fit! 

Meetings at our first office often ended up in some corner, on the floor, because we only had a few conference rooms available in our small startup space. 

Team photo from the last day at our first office. A bittersweet goodbye, but we were very much looking forward to amenities like lots of conference rooms.   

First day at the new office–construction was still in progress. The building was so big that I’d often get lost finding the meeting rooms. 

Once we found the right conference room in our huge new office, the team (monkey included) would get to work brainstorming and prioritizing how we would make education accessible to everyone in the world. 

If you missed a meeting (maybe because you got lost in the building), we’d follow up with the notes. 

While our “technology” was humble, we had big goals! 

Working at Coursera was (and still is) so much fun and energizing. This picture is in front of the “Learner Wall,” a massive photo collage of our learners. 

I can’t recall the topic of this meeting … but I’m sure it was important, whatever it was!

This was one of my favorite team activities. We were each given a white canvas, and on each canvas, there was a pencil outline of a portion of Coursera’s original infinity symbol logo. Our instructions were to paint the canvas, which is what we started doing. After a couple minutes, we were surprised with an instruction to shift to a neighbor’s canvas! This process continued until we’d all worked on each other’s pieces, at which point, we put them all together to create a new and collaborative expression of our logo!

It was a major accomplishment when the marketing team grew to 12 people. Now, we are hundreds strong! 

This was back when we could fit the entire company into one close-up photo. If we took a photo of the company today, the photographer would need to move back a bit to fit in over 1,000 people. 

Happy Birthday, Coursera! 

The post Eight Years at Coursera, Always a Courserian  appeared first on Coursera Blog.

Related Articles

Responses

Your email address will not be published.