These two stories on the seismic changes underway in education could be footnotes to the post “Witch Hunt or Reformation?” but they seem to stand well on their own.
Anya Kamenetz writing for Fast Company recounts a note from Coursera’s Daphne Koller on putting the student first, a trend that will no doubt gather into an avalanche. The enrollment figures alone for Coursera and Udacity make an interesting statement regarding the numbers of people gravitating to alternative forms of education.
“From their experience teaching 100,000 students in ‘massively open online courses,’ Two groups of Stanford professors founded two rival startups, Coursera and Udacity, in 2012. Udacity’s Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun created all their courses in-house, while Coursera’s Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng partnered with leading universities to present their best professors’ stuff across all disciplines.
‘Our cardinal rule, our touchstone was ‘what’s the best for the students,’ says Koller. ‘Stanford alone? Or multiple top universities? Computer Science or all subjects? The choice was clear cut.’
By the fourth quarter of the year, Coursera had 33 university partners, over 300 courses, and 1.6 million students; Udacity had 14 courses & just 112,000 students.”
In the second story of note Salman Khan of the Khan Academy went on record with his vision of a new university – a self-paced learning environment, based on a flipped classroom model, that fosters engagement and doing in conjunction with guidance from accepted masters in the subject area. Interestingly Khan embraces the portfolio as the metric of achievement, not the exam or credit-hour.
Alisha Azevedo writing for Wired Campus:
“In a chapter titled ‘What College Could Be Like,’ Mr. Khan conjures an image of a new campus in Silicon Valley where students would spend their days working on internships and projects with mentors, and would continue their education with self-paced learning similar to that of Khan Academy. The students would attend ungraded seminars at night on art and literature, and the faculty would consist of professionals the students would work with as well as traditional professors.”
“Although students would not be graded in the imagined university he describes, they would compile a portfolio of their work and assessments from their mentors.
‘Existing campuses could move in this direction by de-emphasizing or eliminating lecture-based courses, having their students more engaged in research and co-ops in the broader world, and having more faculty with broad backgrounds who show a deep desire to mentor students,’ he writes.”
Peter Thiel gets a nod as well from Khan in the Wired Campus post.
Kamenetz, Anya, “Coursera Co-CEO Daphne Koller On Putting Students First“, Fast Company, 26 November 2012.
Azevedo, Alisha, “Khan Academy Founder Proposes a New Type of College“, Chronicle of Higher Education, Wired Campus, 29 November 2012.