Free online HE from Google, Stanford Prof.

Nieuws | de redactie
23 december 2011 | 160.000 students in one course? A Google expert and a Stanford professor show that this is possible via online education.

Following an Ivy League course is an exclusive privilege. AGerman Stanford professor, Sebastian Thurn and Google’s Researchdirector, Peter Norvig, now showed that this is not a must. Insteadof teaching to a selected class of around 200 students, Thurn andNorvig created an online platform allowing over 160.000 people to followa course on artificial intelligence.

Organizing a class for such a big audience is challenging, butmanageable as it appears. Students participating in the coursereceive feedback via standardized online tests. Questions are putforward in an online learning environment where participants votewhich ones they deem most important. Thurn then answers thequestions with the greatest number votes.

Democratization of higher education

“A university is a great place to learn, but the costs aresimply too high. My dream is to create a completely free study of20 courses building up on each other,” states Thurn. So far hereceived positive feedback. “I receive emails from people sayingthat we have changed their lives. This is a true democratization ofhigher education.”

The Stanford professor has worked in the United States for 16years. He is also a Google Fellow and helped designing GoogleStreet View. Out of the 160.000 participants from over 190countries 28.000 continue following the course. Once they pass allonline tests they receive a certificate not by Stanford Universityitself but from Thurn and Norvig.

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