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I'm curious if any of the Stanford students who are paying thousands for this course are worried about the diminished return they might get from their professor. Don't get me wrong, I love this idea as the free recipient, I'm just curious if students who are paying, and obviously getting lots more, have any views on this.

The scrutiny that this course will attract because of its popularity might actually encourage a higher standard of teaching for this course than many others that are offered. It could be a win for everyone.

They can also use the data the crowd is generating, these are big data guys.

Also, students are going to be trying harder because they are going to be competing against the world. Imagine if no in-class student was in the top 1,000?

The professors' actual interaction will be limited. Questions from free students will be aggregated and ranked and only the top ten or so answered and posted online. And I doubt the profs will reduce their office hours to make time for this. More details like on the QA section of the announcement site. As far as the paying students are concerned, this probably won't be much different than the profs' other research.

Not sure why you were down voted. This seems like it would be a legitimate concern to me if I were a "regular" Stanford student enrolled in (and paying for) this course.

A regular Stanford student can expect to spend about $50,000 a year [1] or about $200,000 for a four-year degree. In four years, I believe that there will be at least one company that will offer trustworthy certification for a lot less, like maybe $20,000 or $2000. If the primary benefit of a Stanford education is the certification, then in a few years Stanford grads may be like owners of $200,000 cars-- obviously wealthy, but not possessing any significant advantage in transportation over owners of $20,000 cars.

[1] http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090416220215AA...

The level of in-person interaction, office hours, etc. won't come close.

Also - you're paying for the grade & the transcript, not the content.

> you're paying for the grade & the transcript, not the content.

How much is the grading and transcript worth? How much does it cost? I think there's a great opportunity for a startup to just focus on offering transcripts. The hardest part of education is the course content. The grading and transcript part is easy.

I love the concept of open education. But it seems to me that universities who do this are self-destructing. Does Stanford really want to base it's value proposition on its administrative staff? "Anyone can get the knowledge for free. But if you want certification from the Stanford administration staff, that will cost you $150,000. Come to Stanford and get a diploma!"

I don't know how things work in the US, but I went to one of the top engineering schools here in Brazil, and there's an agreement between me and my classmates that the best thing school got us was access to people, i.e., the other students.

I just listened to a talk[1] by Ori Brafman in which he mentions that one of the most important factors in professional collaboration and friendship is physical closeness. MIT dorm students were twice as likely to be best friends with their immediate dorm neighbor (6 meters away) than with the dorm neighbors two rooms down (12 meters away). Professional collaborations followed the same pattern. Y Combinator likes to see founders share an apartment. There's probably a lot of value in simply being physically near other people with similar interests.

[1] http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2683

not at all - I took both the ML and AI course equivalents, and I think it's awesome more people can benefit from the great instruction I've been lucky enough to receive. I do agree that I also became more familiar with the material during office hours and other interactions with the course staff, and I think the classes are already designed well enough that making the resources like videos and assignments available will not put too much additional burden on the instructors.

Perhaps crowd-sourced questions will help improve the overall quality. The relative anonymity and impersonal nature of the Internet could encourage more people to ask questions so that the professors are much more aware of areas that are unclear and require further explanation.

I'm looking forward to this.

I think an interesting challenge scaling the class won't be the professor's time but the TAs'. I'm assuming that assignments for free students won't be graded as rigorously depending on problems sets (time consuming) vs coding assignments (potentially automated).

Why would they? It's not like you're getting a degree from Stanford. It's very similar to MIT OpenCourseWare (and no way they will grade the assignments with so many students taking the course).

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