Other universities, like NC State and Georgia Tech, give platitudes about equal access to education for all but then fail to deliver. At the end of the day, this is because online education for them is not about equality, but rather, it is about creating a revenue stream for the institution. These institutions will charge thousands of dollars for what is effectively access to pre-recorded videos, with a Teaching Assistant that grades your work to provide that key "certification". If you just want to learn for
the sake or learning, and aren't concerned with having an official credential, you're simply out of luck.
For example, I find NC State's policy simply draconian:
"Accordingly, this policy also relates to the downloading of video lectures for Engineering Online classes. You are allowed to download a lecture and to keep it on your machine until the end of the semester you are enrolled in the class. After this time period, you must delete the downloaded files."
That's the type of contract I expect from the MPAA, not an educational institution. Contrast this with MIT OpenCourseware, which provides lecture notes, exam, and videos without any registration:
So, good job MIT and Stanford. Hopefully other institutions will follow your path.
This seems less likely in the NC State example though, given that the same policy seems to apply to all course material, in addition to video lecture recordings.
I wouldn't describe the fees then as 'paying through the nose', certainly not in comparison to professional IT certifications.
Also anyone knows of a good online video lecture on Computer graphics? Something with some accompanying material?
And by letting you redo the assignment they get to actually see if it takes someone 1,2,10,50 tries to get them all right so they can figure out the problems.
As an academic, it makes me wondering how education will change over the next 10 years. If a prof gives a fantastic lecture in the Fall of 2010, does he need to repeat himself in 2011? I had the experience of lecturing an undergrad course in Programming Languages many years ago. Honestly, the content didn't change much (I was teaching Scheme, ML and Prolog). I did get a bit better answering and anticipating student questions. I'll admit that in some cases, content must be updated fairly frequently. For instance, Prof. Ousterhaut's web app course on the site seems to be covering Rails 2.x.x. Teaching it today, perhaps 3.x or 3.1 would be used.
However, when I look at how well the community can improve the quality of a lecture, it blows my mind. In the Stanford AI class, for instance, the lecturer made a slight error where he defined the admissibility criteria of the h function (estimated cost) in A* search as less than the true cost rather than less than or equal to the true cost. Well ... this was quickly spotted by students and a correction was promptly issued. This blows my mind!
This also has the potential of making things worse on the supply side of education. In the last decade, it has undoubtedly gotten harder to get a faculty position in Computer Science. Will the advent of online education make that situation worse? As someone who has been an educator in the past, my personal opinion is that education should be available for free. But, I worry that it might not be sustainable.
The rise of Wikipedia with the concomitant decline of commercial, paper encyclopedias offers some insight into the future of education. In the future, there will be more education available and it will be very cheap.
What will not be sustainable anymore is a career in education where one gives essentially the same lecture for 30 years but gets paid as if he has created an entirely new lecture every year.
It will be interesting to see how this affects the development of subjects like mathematics. Without the income from teaching students how will the capitalist system maintain academics in research? Who will pay if education effectively becomes free?
Don't get me wrong. It's fantastic that a brilliant lecturer can now lecture to as many people who choose to watch the video - that's not quite educating them but almost. I see that an institution then can train millions of people using a single good lecturer and a system of auxiliaries, admin staff and what-have-you. But then what of those who were doing [not directly/immediately commercial] research supported by their lecture positions.
EDIT to add: the problem with human tutors is that they are inconvenient. It takes time to schedule a tutor, and you can only get help at certain times (that is, during the tutoring session). Human tutors have many advantages, but a program that is merely passable will nevertheless be immensely popular simply because it is convenient.
One ordinarily learns the maths appropriate to ones course in that department which runs the course.
Do you mean your libraries have classrooms for private tuition? I'm not familiar with this sort of thing. In my country private tuition happens at the tutor or students house.
If a musician gets a royalty every time his song is played on the radio, why can't a professor get a royalty every time his video is watched?
"Will the advent of online education make that situation worse?"
+1 to what everyone else is saying in this thread about the Stanford classes, I'm loving the ML one so far.
1) Tenured Professors - traditional tenure track.
2) Untenured Instructors - traditional instructors.
3) Research Professors - essentially freelance entrepreneurs in the research space under the CMU umbrella. They seek their own funding, hire students, advise, but don't teach.
As such, I doubt this will lead to any major shifts in the employment situation of academics.
The real innovation in the AI, ML and DB classes is making automated grading of creative work available to everyone for free. It's a very altruistic thing to do, but other than the effort needed to build and maintain the systems, I don't see the downsides for the school. Fancy schools are for letting other people know you're smart enough to get into a fancy school, meeting other smart people, and having access to people who are doing cutting-edge research. The content isn't the distinguishing factor.
You still have more people that want come to you and pay your fees than you can accept - but in the future they might not have a cheaper tier university as an alternative.
It's like Oxford publishing the OED. Even if you didn't make money from the book - whats it worth to your selling other courses overseas?
Khanacademy showed alternative education methods, Stanford didn't try and discredit services like this, instead they put many of their courses online too. I'll be going through these courses later.
When he found out I'm taking this course (he's a Stanford alum from the 90's), the CEO of ThisOrThat, the startup I work for, was really excited. He said I could use production data for a project if necessary, and gave me some ideas for possible ML applications that would be really helpful to have on the site (fraud detection, a reputation system, etc). I'm looking forward to this more than anything I did in college or grad school, and I actually feel like I'm on the young side of 25 again.
Even so, I'd really like having someone who groks ML giving me pointers after the fact. 3 months just doesn't seem like enough time to do a thorough dive into the material for me to say with confidence "I understand the background and problems in the field of ML".
Mostly though, I'm just hoping I can find a place to work with plenty of ML people to learn from :)
Prof. Ng did remark that they decided to switch to videos because they saw dropping attendance rates in the past as students begin to utilize our remote learning solution later in the quarter (i.e. get lazy to go to class), but I wish that there was also a transcribed version of the videos that could be made available for people who prefer learning that way.
These remote learning classes from Standford are somewhat new and there is some experimentation taking place, I would rather not see these classes be canceled due to lack of attendance.
All-in-all a great experience, I hope more universities follow suit in this open style of teaching.
I also have to say, that I absolutely love the "khan"-Style presentations
EE380 is a colloquium not a course, but many of the videos will be of interest to HN readers. In addition to the archived talks, which can be viewed on-demand, it's possible to watch the current (W4:15-5:30 Pacific) in a real time webcast or attend live in person. A significant number of “not students” attend live because there’s always something that the camera misses and because you can ask questions.
The talk this week (Oct 19, 2011) is Professor John P. Weyant, MS&E, Stanford speaking on Integrated Assessment of Climate Change: dealing with massive Complexity and Uncertainty.
about the stanford ML course (i'm not taking any others) -- i especially like the fact that i can always rewind, re-watch, pause-take notes-play, answer questions during the "lecture" without the embarrassment of getting it wrong the first time, unlike in real lectures. the forums are there in case of questions/problems. the content is presented in a clear and concise manner. and the length of each "lecture" is 10-15 minutes, no need to focus heavily for an hour straight.
for people who have not seen the ted talk by salman khan http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/salman_khan_let_s_use_vide... which, along with increasing number of online courses from prominent universities, suggests that the educational system is changing.
people who are behind this, i salute you.
I hope it will be back soon.
Open University (UK):
Some of the video lecture series:
CSE 421: Introduction to Algorithms:
CSE P 501 Compiler Construction: