58,000 people from around the world have signed up to participate in a Stanford class on artificial intelligence. From one woman who emailed the announcement to her network of colleagues it has become a virtual firestorm to sign up to learn free from the world’s experts on AI. Students will get a certificate of participation and all will be ‘graded’ using new tech approaches such as personalized exams; new techniques include having students vote on which questions they want the instructors to address.
Instructors Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig articulate the vision: changing the world by bringing education to places that can’t be reached today.
This is an exciting development that is sure to bring others forward in innovative thought in truly providing education to the world. SAD TO SAY, but higher education has been one of the most backward industries in terms of innovation, technology or effectiveness. Only the oil industry can outdo them in % increase in cost of product over the past 20 years, and higher education’s approach hasn’t changed much in the last 500 years. Can you imagine any other industries using virtually the same ‘technology’ that it mastered 500 years ago? Think about medicine, communications, transportation, manufacturing to name just a few. And what turms ineffectiveness into tragedy is that arguably no other service is more important to our personal and economic well-being globally.
The for-profit participants in the field, for the most part, have taken the low road, preying on the uneducated and unsophisticated, to tap into the government’s student loan coffers, almost universally providing substandard education.
A few bright lights can begin to change this–Stanford’s pioneering work in the field, the pheomenal Kahn Academy, and perhaps 2Tor, in the for-profit space.
Kudos to Thrun or Norvig