Son of a MOOC! (Or, what happens when you swallow the red pill.)

I located the MOOC Guide with an introduction written by Stephen Downes today. It is a very helpful potted history of MOOCs.

Screen shot of MOOC 2011 introduction
Screen shot of MOOC 2011 introduction
Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig's AI Course run from Stanford University
Section 13 of the MOOC Guide introduces the successful AI-Class run by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig at Stanford University.

Below you can see a video of Sebastian Thrun describing his experience of co-teaching the AI class with Peter Norvig, over 100,000 people pre-registered for the course. Sebastian Thrun has received a lot of press for resigning his position at Stanford University following this spectacularly powerful teaching experience. He has turned away from the traditional teaching methods of academia so that he can concentrate on his new educational venture at Udacity.com where he states:

“We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low-cost. Using the economics of the Internet, we’ve connected some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world.”

The talk in the YouTube video is about 24 minutes long but it is well worth listening to (especially if you are an educator). The talk gives a quick glimpse of the future of education and it makes you realize that education is going the way of the music and newspaper industries (to name just two fields irrevocably altered by the web). Here is a quote (somewhat paraphrased) from near the end of the talk by Sebastian:

“I feel like there is a red pill and a blue pill and you can take the blue pill and go back to your classroom of 20 students. But I have taken the red pill and I have seen Wonderland where we can change the world with education, if we can make education free for the world, accessible everywhere, we can help the developing world to become much better, much stronger… Along with using the digital medium I really want to stop empowering the professors, I want to empower the students.”

4 thoughts on “Son of a MOOC! (Or, what happens when you swallow the red pill.)

  1. Hi cyberloom, thanks for sharing! It’s the first time I’ve watched this presentation and it was very moving. I particularly liked his openness, sincerity and his overriding concern for learners. It looks like he’s been humbled by his experiences with the Stanford MOOC experiment and has set a course to address the issues that he encountered.

    He’s also created a huge amount of buzz and positive publicity for MOOCs and Connectivism. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with on Udacity.

  2. Hi Matt, I agree. I liked his radical idea of helping students learn and understand as opposed to testing them to identify failure. That is, he advocates returning to a topic until the student grasps it rather than dismissing them because they failed their test.

  3. OMG.. this is what i have been waiting for…

    It is a superb link to share- futhermore it is an inspiring link…

    I dont know how to say this properly…. but in the 19th C education was ” given ” to children (via the church./ workhouse etc) .. and now i see the internet giving that opportunity also…

    my Dad left school at 14.. did an OU degree much much later… and was very proud of his achievements.. but it was before VHS…etc… he really did have to watch BBC 2 at 3.00 am… …. now whatever shift you work (given the internet.. YOU CAN )..

    Thank you.. this is good stuff x

  4. Wow! Your father studied with the Open University? (Pre VHS recording too.) He had good cause to feel proud. People like your dad demonstrated there was another way and that education does not have to be an exclusive ivory tower. Son of MOOC is the great grandson of OU.

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