Because of the diminishing return on investment and rising costs of going to college, new online learning platforms have emerged recently, enabling people all over the world to take college-level classes in a wide range of subjects. These online classes differ from traditional online classes in many ways:
- there is no cost to take them
- the only requirement to enroll is an email address
- while taught by professors, they are not affiliated with any existing institution
- enrollment goes into the many thousands of students
In many ways, these classes are better than traditional college classes. Because they are online, you have much more control of their education. For instance, you have the ability to spend as much time as you need in order to gain mastery of the material. In addition, because of the large numbers of students taking these classes, it is very easy to ask and answer questions about the material in the class forums. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the professor won’t remind you when to turn in assignments or watch the lecture videos, so you have to be motivated enough to do the work by yourself.
The two largest platforms providing these types of online classes are Udacity and Coursera.
Read on for a comparison of the two: Online Learning: Udacity and Coursera Comparison | UnCollege.
Udacity, a start-up company offering free online courses, last week canceled a course, “Logic and Discrete Mathematics,” that was due to begin this summer, saying the lectures and materials it had prepared on the topic did not live up to its quality standards.
“We recorded the entire class and edited most of it, but in our internal tests it didn’t meet our quality bar,” said Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity, in an e-mail interview on Sunday. “We have an enormous respect for our students’ time and don’t want to release anything that wouldn’t meet our bar.”
He declined to say how many students had signed up for the course or to answer further questions about the future of the offering.The course had originally been slated to start in June. At first Udacity officials announced that it would be delayed a few weeks. But last week they said they would “not be launching this course.”
Full Text: Udacity Cancels Free Online Math Course, Citing Low Quality – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The dream of using the Web to provide free, high-quality education to the masses has attracted notable backers, including Google Inc. and Bill Gates, but such efforts so far have gained limited traction.
Now Sebastian Thrun, one of the world’s top robotics experts, has given up teaching at Stanford University to transform what he views as a broken college education system from the outside. Last year, Mr. Thrun, also a senior Google executive, co-founded a Palo Alto-based start-up, now called Udacity Inc., to teach large groups of people through free online courses and help them find jobs.
via Start-Up Expands Free Course Offerings Online – WSJ.com.