25 January 2012

The Udacity of Hope: Just Say No to Tenure

Sebastian Thrun, a [tenured] research professor of computer science at Stanford, revealed today that he has departed the institution to found Udacity, a start-up offering low-cost online classes. _Chronicle Higher Ed
Thrun will continue to work at Google while starting up the online learning website, Udacity, with fellow computer scientist David Evans.
One of Udacity’s first offerings will be a seven-week course called “Building a Search Engine.” It will be taught by David Evans, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Virginia and a Udacity partner. Mr. Thrun said it is designed to teach students with no prior programming experience how to build a search engine like Google. He hopes 500,000 students will enroll. _Chronical Higher Ed
Free world-class online education sounds like a great idea, until you get around to asking, "Who will pay for it?"
Udacity looks great, and I can’t wait for it to be a revolutionary success, educating and empowering students around the world, especially in places like Africa and India, and, in those places, especially women.

...Stanford was willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars building a new physical campus in New York City — but it isn’t willing, it seems, to help Thrun build a free virtual campus which could reach the whole world. That’s a dereliction of its educational duty. But where Stanford has failed, surely some other elite university will step in. Thrun is taking a bold step here. Let’s hope he soon gets the support, if not of Stanford, then of some other college. Like Harvard, or Yale, or Oxford, or Cambridge. They’re exclusive places now. But they don’t have to be, in the future. _Reuters
It may be asking too much to demand that Harvard, Yale, or Oxford contribute to the seeds of their own demise. But somewhere out there, someone must be interested in fanning the flames of the education revolution. I suppose that Google may kick in a few pennies, and perhaps the Bill and Mel Gates Foundation will toss in a dime or two. But they are already helping to support Khan Academy, as well as all of their other projects.

What would be great is if some of the oil sheikhs of the Persian Gulf were to stop funding the terrorist madrasas, and start funding some positive revolutions, meant to lay the groundwork for a peaceful and productive future.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts