Is the future of education online?They're called Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) and many are taught by top professors at the best colleges in the world. Molly Wood looks at how education is getting re-imagined online.
-Mathematical philosophy-- -And the author of this [unk]-- -[unk]-- to each cell-- -An introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Jazz Improvisation, the Science of Gastronomy. These are just a few of the hundreds of college courses you can take online for free, as education gets totally re-imagined, thanks to the internet. The classes are called massive open online courses or MOOCs and many are taught by top professors at the best colleges in the world and anyone can take them. -We call them control-- -Andrew Ng is a Stanford professor and co-founder of Coursera, an online education startup. He says MOOCs are all about promoting access to education for everyone. -What we really did was create a technology that makes it possible for one professor to teach, not just a hundred, but a hundred-thousand students. This really changes the economics of higher education and lets us do this totally the same thing like take the best courses and put them online for free. -Coursera offers classes from 80 different universities from all around the world. So, this is your list of partner universities. It's pretty long, look at that. -Courses from all of these schools taught in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, more languages to come in the future. -The online lesson plans follow a similar format to a traditional class. There's a syllabus, lectures, homework, and even tests. Very few classes include college credit, but completing a class comes with its own rewards. -Most students are not able to get credit for these courses or a degree. So, you can say I took a course, but you can't say I graduated from Princeton? -The free Coursera courses are not credits bearing and you don't get a degree for them for the most part, but it turns out that when you finish these courses and list them on your rÃ©sumÃ©, employers do take them seriously. -How far are we do you think from this becoming the next stage of education? -Previously, the model for education was you go to school for 4 years and then the next 4 years you [unk] on what you learn, but that makes no sense in today's world and all of us need a very good booster shots of knowledge. -Heather Weir is one such student, a user experience designer at Oracle who signed up for a course on Gamification to broaden her skills. -They have a series of video lectures that you can watch. There are quizzes that you would take as well as homework assignments, papers that you write. I love to learn, I love being in class, so this is a really easy way to do that. -Coursera is not the only place to get an online college education, there's also Udacity and edX and some courses can be taken online directly from colleges. But the father of the movement is Sal Khan, he is targeting the K through 12 crowd with his startup, Khan Academy. -So, if I take the x, multiply by 5 and then also subtracted by 8-- -His unique approach which inspired the sea change in education is about helping students better learn in a range of subjects from Algebra to Astronomy. -Do you feel like you've spurred a shift in the way people view education? -We were the first to kinda get-- to kinda show that there's a huge need for this, there's a huge demand, but our goal is to not just replicate kind of a traditional course or just to be video lecturers, but most of the other people on the other side of this wall are software engineers, data scientists, alerting experts, researchers, teachers, we're working with them to think about-- kind of a rethink how the learning happen, so it's more personalize, so it's more interactive. It's not electrical-based, it's not explanation-driven, it's a human being doing exercises. -So, will all this technology replace the traditional classroom? It's hard to say. -The most valuable thing you could get from your education is this ability to take ownership of your education. This ability to say, "Oh wait, that's my goal. I need to figure it out. Here are the resources that I have at my disposal. Let me do it." People get very cynical all the time, but I think we are absolutely moving into like the dawn of humanity. Not to be too dramatic. -No, I totally agree.