Brand new online University started by two Stanford Professors

Posted by | Education, Entrepreneurship, The Big Picture | No Comments

Taught by Professor David Evans and Professor Sebastian Thrun, two high-level subjects in “Building a Search Engine” and “Programming a Robotic Car” appear to offer outcomes based education, free, and online for all!

Rather than ramble on, I’ve cut and pasted the FAQ from their site here: (I hope Google doesn’t anti-SEO me for this!)

FAQ From

Is there a fee to take the course?
Nope, no fees. All of our classes are offered entirely free of cost.

Can you enroll in both classes?
Yes! Keep in mind CS101 is intended for students with no previous programming background, while CS373 assumes students have prior programming experience.

When do classes start?
February 20th, 2012.

When do I have to be online to watch the lectures?
The lectures are posted each week for you to view at your convenience.

How is the class formatted?
Both classes are broken into 6 week-long units and seventh week that wraps up the course and has a final exam. Each unit contains multiple lecture segments with interactive quizzes built in. There will be one homework assignment which will include programming problems each week. There will be approximately 50 minutes of lecture videos.

How long will enrollment be open?
Enrollment will be open until the first homework assignment, February 28th.

Will the courses be offered again? When?
The courses will be offered again starting April 16, 2012.

Which programming language will be used?
Python will be used in both CS101 and CS373. If you are taking CS101, don’t worry if you don’t know what a programming language is yet. If you are taking CS373, you should either already know Python, or have enough experience with another language to be confident you can pick up what you need on your own.

Will there be closed captioning?
Yes, the videos will have captions in English. We’re also working to support other languages in future.

Will you be offering other classes?
Yes! We will be announcing more courses soon.

What will I get for completing the classes?
Students who complete a course will also receive a certificate signed by the instructors.

Is Udacity affiliated with Stanford and/or Google?
No. Udacity is an independent company.

Can I audit the course?

Should education be a game?

Posted by | Education, Personal, The Big Picture | 4 Comments

The TED talk below discusses the motivational mechanisms that drive people to contribute valuable personal resources to gameplay. Tom Chatfield asks the question, how could we use these motivational theories to improve the way the world works? After the video I will lay out some thoughts I had in response.

Tom already mentioned the most obvious candidate for an application of gaming motivational theory, education. I am currently halfway through my final year of a Commerce degree in Entrepreneurship, and I can confidently say that the experience of getting a degree is neither fun, motivating nor even intellectually satisfying for most people. The industrial era model of sending batches of students through a system to learn the same things as each other in order to compete for the same job with the same qualifications just isn’t relevant any more. I propose a system capable of allowing a student to start without knowing what they want to do, leave and return when they want and ‘graduate’ when they are ready.

Any teacher can testify to the variety of student aptitudes present within even a small class of 30, let alone a student population of 20,000 as found in many of our universities today. Does it make sense for all of the students within a study unit to attend the same number of classes for the same period of time? Why can’t we just attempt the exam first with a couple of days to cram and see if we can pass it? I can personally attest that on several occasions I have learned more about a subject in the day before an exam than in the whole semester of study preceding it. Of course there are the arguments for memory retention, but the current system doesn’t score too well there either…

What do you think? Please leave a comment!

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