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[The Verge] Stanford Professor Gives Up Tenure to Start Udacity Free Online University

post #1 of 17
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Quote:
Inspired by the number of people that the Khan Academy's free video lectures reached, Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun put his own artificial intelligence class online and enrolled 160,000 students. After scrambling to accommodate so many pupils, he came away from the experience with a new vision of education so different that he says he "can't teach at Stanford again."

Source

This is a great idea, not just for reaching out to prospective students, but professors who love teaching, which R1 universities tend to disregard. Took a look at the career opportunities and the stringent criteria to become an instructor (5+ years experience teaching at a top-tier university, PhD/JD/MD required) bodes well for the quality of the courses.

The first course is CS 101: Building a Search Engine. Interested, go sign up! Oh, and did I mention it's free? biggrin.gif
    
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post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by veblen View Post

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This is a great idea, not just for reaching out to prospective students, but professors who love teaching, which R1 universities tend to disregard. Took a look at the career opportunities and the stringent criteria to become an instructor (5+ years experience teaching at a top-tier university, PhD/JD/MD required) bodes well for the quality of the courses.
The first course is CS 101: Building a Search Engine. Interested, go sign up! Oh, and did I mention it's free? biggrin.gif

indeed, seems like a great idea. Nice to have a somewhat strict set of requirements to become an instructor, even though they don't mean anything it certainly does lend some credibility to the seriousness of this stuff. will have to wait and see how it does, hopefully well smile.gif
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post #3 of 17
I've done the online thing already, definitely over-hyped... Definitely is NOT a substitute for classroom lectures. An academic environment is more conducive to learning than sitting behind a computer screen. It is impossible for him to answer questions and have one-on-one's with that many students.

However, this may be a good alternative for those that don't attend a conventional college.
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post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BizzareRide View Post

However, this may be a good alternative for those that don't attend a conventional college.

Or self starters that don't have time or money to get educated in a secondary field, etc.

If the content isn't really well written and edited, not having a one on one could be problematic for some people.
    
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post #5 of 17
I'm curious where the funding will come from if this becomes more popular. The sad truth of the matter is that most people who pursue tenure-track positions at universities rarely care about teaching and education. But even if that weren't the case, how could other poorly established (financially) educators be convinced to hop on board with this when nothing else in the world is free.

I'd love to see this succeed and get more steam behind it, and get some sort of subsidy for the people volunteering their time. Perhaps eventually there won't be a huge amount of man-hours, once classes and class material becomes established. Hell, perhaps its' already established, and now setting up the logistics of the classes and offerings is all that needs to be done.
    
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post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BizzareRide View Post

I've done the online thing already, definitely over-hyped... Definitely is NOT a substitute for classroom lectures. An academic environment is more conducive to learning than sitting behind a computer screen. It is impossible for him to answer questions and have one-on-one's with that many students.
However, this may be a good alternative for those that don't attend a conventional college.

I teach in higher-ed and I concur. My opinion's always been that classroom lectures trump online ones, and for me, given the material I teach, chalk and blackboard trumps Powerpoint, Keynote or Beamer (most of the time, at least).

My issue with most online courses is the potential lack of quality control; I'm hopeful this might address that somewhat, as long as they maintain strict standards. Also, I suppose the nature of the material matters too: CS might work, and perhaps statistics/econometrics. And yes, organization and teaching quality is critical to this succeeding. One potential issue is constructing a course that is able to deal with the varied training and backgrounds of prospective students; unlike college, I doubt you can impose course prerequisites.

As always, a lot hinges on the willingness of the student to work hard and you struggle with that in both online and classroom lectures, albeit much more online.

This will be my first online course, so let's see if it changes my mind. smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyladouche View Post

I'm curious where the funding will come from if this becomes more popular. The sad truth of the matter is that most people who pursue tenure-track positions at universities rarely care about teaching and education. But even if that weren't the case, how could other poorly established (financially) educators be convinced to hop on board with this when nothing else in the world is free.
I'd love to see this succeed and get more steam behind it, and get some sort of subsidy for the people volunteering their time. Perhaps eventually there won't be a huge amount of man-hours, once classes and class material becomes established. Hell, perhaps its' already established, and now setting up the logistics of the classes and offerings is all that needs to be done.

Indeed. I've seen many a talented teacher get denied tenure because of insufficient research productivity.

I wonder if the 5+ years experience necessary to be hired is geared towards assistant professors up for tenure who might not get it.
    
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post #7 of 17
im going in on this. id like to see how this works. working full time in IT after doing 2 years of college at a 4 year university, ive been kind of itching to keep educating myself. I feel jumping into a online university type thing might not be the best, but now i can see just how well i could push myself with this free class.
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post #8 of 17
I signed up for the free stanford online classes thing and it seems that that has been delayed. Still a lot of things to work out with this online thing. Especially since they advertise it so much, and get a lot of interest.
    
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post #9 of 17
Khan Academy is already sweet, this is very interesting.
post #10 of 17
Might as well give myself a head start now. Will check out later.
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