A revolution is underway in higher education. Top universities are offering their courses online for free through initiatives like:
Coursera – Launched by two Standard University professors: Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng
Udacity – Co-founded by Google Executive and Standard professor Sebastian Thrun
edX – Joint venture by MIT and Harvard
We already have a lot of video lectures from top universities on YouTube and iTunes. But these new initiatives are different, they are a game changer. They are able to create a virtual classroom environment which is attracting thousand of people from all over the world.
First the course starts at a particular time and you have to enroll for it. That means a lot of students take the course at the same time and they are able to discuss and help each other through forums.
Secondly rather than hour long video lectures, each video is about 10 minutes long covering one concept at a time. This really suits the online self-paced learning model.
Students are required to submit review questions and assignment each week. This gives a sense of progress and acheivement which is vital to keep you going back to the virtual classroom every week. Statement of Accomplishment of issued at the end if you get the passing score.
I have enrolled in some of the courses from Coursera and having a wonderful time 🙂