Wednesday, May 2, 2012

NPR > Explosion In Free Online Classes May Change Course Of Higher Education


May 2, 2012 / 05:15 pm / NPR Staff

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are teaming up in a $60 million venture to provide classes online for free. The move is the latest by top universities to expand their intellectual reach through the Internet — a trend that is changing higher education.

Last month, Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan announced that they were working with Coursera, a Silicon Valley startup, to put more than a dozen classes online this year in subjects ranging from computer science to public health to poetry.

Earlier this year, Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun, one of the inventors of Google's self-driving car, announced he was leaving the school to start a company called Udacity, which would hire world-class professors from leading universities to create free online classes.

[snip]

Wednesday's announcement was a bit different. Harvard and MIT are creating a nonprofit called edX; the universities are investing $30 million each — significantly more than what has been raised by their West Coast for-profit competitors.

Henn says Harvard and MIT also pledged to release their software for free when it's fully developed, as an open-source product for anyone to use.

[snip]

Interactive quizzes and other tools have made it possible to deliver a class that really has value to hundreds of thousands of students, Henn says.

[snip]

"Perhaps some day there may be people who never leave their basement," Henn says. "I think at this point, there are many thousands more people around the world [for whom this provides] a window that opens and allows them to see a bigger, broader piece of the world than they could before."

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/05/02/151876426/explosion-in-free-online-classes-may-change-course-of-higher-education]

Audio Available At 

[http://n.pr/Krcm96]

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