Companies like Coursera.org are revolutionizing the college education by allowing worldwide students to hear his lectures, do homework assignments, be graded and receive a certificate for completing the course. That certificate can be used to get a better job or gain admission to a better school.
Coursera’s cofounder explains:
“I normally teach 400 students, but last semester I taught 100,000 in an online course on machine learning. We just broke a million enrollments”.
Thomas Friedman –in my view the best columnist in the world- writes:
“Private companies, like Phoenix, have been offering online degrees for a fee for years. And schools like M.I.T. and Stanford have been offering lectures for free online. Coursera is the next step: building an interactive platform that will allow the best schools in the world to not only offer a wide range of free course lectures online, but also a system of testing, grading, student-to-student help and awarding certificates of completion of a course for under $100. Sounds like a good deal. Tuition at the real-life Stanford is over $40,000 a year.”
Coursera is starting with 40 courses online, from computing to the humanities, offered by professors from Stanford, Princeton, Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. Also, it will work with employers to connect students with job opportunities that are appropriate to their newly acquired skills.
M.I.T., Harvard and private companies, like Udacity, are creating similar platforms. “In five years this will be a huge industry,” predicts Friedman.
“When you consider how many problems around the world are attributable to the lack of education, that is very good news. Let the revolution begin.”