The MOOC [Massive Open Online Course] has arrived!
Courses can be real-time or user-paced with open enrollment. Both methods work well.
The legendary AI course at Stanford in the fall of 2011 included homework and exams. Here's Peter Norvig's report at TED.
How it works:
Instruction is chopped into snippets just a few minutes long.
At the end of a snippet, there is usually a question to be answered. Your response is immediately checked by software.
You can try again if you got it wrong, or you can click to watch an explanation of the correct answer.
The psychological reward for right answers is very strong! It's a lot of fun! It validates your understanding.
You progress just as fast as you master the material. Fast or slow, completing a course is a specific achievement.
There can be online student discussion forums, office hours and optional modules.
Grading and credit:
Everything is graded by software, so the marginal labor cost per student is zero, so courses can be offered for free.
Recently, Udacity has even been able to grade programming assignments automatically.
Humanities courses and essays can't be graded by software yet, but Coursera has a sophisticated peer grading system that works.
MOOC students receive certificates of completion and grades, but not university course credit.
Kevin Carey explains "Badges".
Coursera is instituting Signature Tracking to verify your identity so you can get credit for online courses. You type a "signature phrase" every time you submit coursework.
"Flipping" the classroom:
Traditional courses meet together for lectures, then separate to do exercises at home.
Students in "flipped" courses watch lectures online at home, then come to class to do exercises assisted by the teacher.
The Palo Alto School District is "flipping" mathematics instruction district–wide.
I have marked as "MOOC" the courses which are available in this format.
This method has been very effective, and it's not too expensive to develop the courses.
It's well-suited to secondary, college and graduate-level material.
We finally have an excellent model of how to organize online courses. Welcome aboard!
Here's some more discussion about MOOCs (most recent first):
• Udacity announces Nanodegrees for tech credentials.
• MOOCs' Disruption is Only Beginning by Clayton Christensen and Michelle Weise brings us up to date.
• Allan Finder has a recent summary in the New York Times.
• Georgia Tech is stirring things up with its economy (75% off!) MOOC master's in computer science. What a deal!!
• Caltech is justifiably proud of its initial MOOCs in this annual report on online education. Notice you haven't seen MOOCs from UCLA or USC!
• Tamar Lewin evaluates the state of online courses.
• Thomas Friedman has some enthusiastic words about MOOCs.
• The New York Times wrote an editorial criticizing MOOCs for high dropout rates and inadequate student–teacher contact. I personally think these criticisms are not appropriate.
• Larry Gordon writes in the Los Angeles Times, that UC Irvine emeritus professor Richard McKenzie quit his Coursera microeconomics course midway through. He insisted students buy the textbook.
• How California's Online Education Pilot will End College as We Know It, by Gregory Ferenstein in TechCrunch.
• Tom Friedman: Revolution Hits the Universities in the New York Times.
• Interview with Salman Khan, of Khan Academy.
• Udacity has started discussion of an online university student bill of rights.
• San Jose State Univ partners with Udacity to offer lower–division courses.
• New York Times views online education as a dubious business opportunity: "MOOCs Popular, not Lucrative".
• Pascal–Emmanuel Gobry explains in Forbes What is the Flipped Classroom Model and Why is it Amazing?
• Alex Tabarrok blogs about Why Online Education Works. This is a very well–expressed look at the future of higher education.
• Tamar Lewin summarizes the state of things; it's starting to become clear how significant this revolution is.
• The BBC reports that Bill Gates has given $1 million for two Massachusetts community colleges to use edX.
• Here are eleven articles from Time Magazine about higher education reform!
• The Chronicle of Higher Education has a whole issue about MOOCs. They'll even be updating it!
• Online Education Grows Up, and for Now, It's Free, by National Public Radio.
• The Chronicle of Higher Education has a summary article about MOOCs.
• Daphne Kohler from Coursera pitches MOOCs at a TED Conference. She explains Coursera's peer grading system, too.
• MOOCs, Large Courses Open to All, Topple Campus Walls by Tamar Lewin in the New York Times.
• Top Universities Test the Online Appeal of Free, by Richard Pérez Peña summarizes the amazing spread of elite online classes for free.
• Wired report by Stephen Leckart: Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Education Forever.
• Sebastian Thrun Resigns from Stanford, Announces Udacity (very moving video).
• Udacity and the Future of Online Universities by Felix Salman. More of what happened to Sebastian Thrun and Stanford.
• Matt Welsh blogs on the amazing AI Course and what we have discovered about how universities should work.
• Thomas Friedman writes about how the education revolution solves cost and availability obstacles for multitudes.
Listen to Bill Gates' thoughts about health as well as education at the 2013 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit keynote session.
Suli Breaks has a radical message about the difference between education and school. Or is he Kevin Ngongo?
MITx: MIT Mints a Valuable New Form of Academic Currency by Kevin Carey. Real course credit at last!
Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen is an activist for student–centered innovation.
Start-ups Offer Virtually Free College by Jon Marcus.
Mark Taylor has concluded that these reforms are inevitable.
U.S. government has launched a website on education technology.
Penn Jillette has criticized his education by saying he went to "cloud college". Actually, that's not such a bad idea!