Can Free Online Courses Transform the Higher Education Industry?

Knowledge@Wharton provide their take on higher education, MOOCS and change. They report on a participant of the AI Stanford course who got a job in machine learning shortly afterwards. They look back at online education initiatives in recent years and wonder if this is different

Why might Coursera or another of the new enterprises succeed where others have failed? For one, the technology has evolved. Video and audio are crisper. Desktop sharing tools and discussion boards are easier to navigate. There is greater access to Internet libraries. Course developers also have a more nuanced understanding of how people learn online and the best ways to present information in that format. Coursera, for example, slices lectures into digestible 10- or 15-minute segments and provides online quizzes as part of each section. Professors answer questions from students in online forums. This is a vast improvement from previous online education ventures that offered a less dynamic learning model where students watched canned lectures, with no interaction.

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