Online Education Grows Up, And For Now, It's Free

NPR Staff, NPR, Oct 01, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

More stuff people are saying is impossible. "Earlier this year in Kazahkstan, 22-year-old computer science student Askhat Muzrabayev had a problem... "we didn't have [Artificial Intelligence] classes in the syllabus," Muzrabayev says. So Muzrabayev went online to Coursera and enrolled in Stanford's Machine Learning class for free. He watched the lectures, did the quizzes, joined online discussions with students from around the world and then took the final exam. He passed, and when it was over he received a certificate that said he completed an online course at Stanford. Muzrabayev used that certificate to apply for jobs; offers started to pour in. One of those offers was from Twitter, and he now works for the company in the Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty." Meanwhile, John Sener writes, "It's certainly a romanticized (some might say delusional) notion that all, or even most, MOOC participants experience 'deep and meaningful learning'... my conclusion remains that MOOCs are in fact a degraded educational experience..."

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