Stanford’s experiment in offering its three most popular computer science classes to the public online for free has seen 200,000 people from around the globe sign up. Introduction to Artificial Intelligence alone has attracted 160,000 students, of which more than 35,000 have stuck with it, handing in assignments and doing exams along with the 175 students paying to take the class in person.
What’s the Big Idea?
What’s unique about Stanford’s offering compared to MIT’s decade-old Open CourseWare and other online learning projects is that Stanford’s professors give their virtual lectures the same feel as the in-person experience, even taking questions from their virtual students. A growing number of professors are interested in making knowledge accessible to the masses, regardless of ability to pay.
Patricia Milligan discusses the conflict between a generation that has carved out a niche and is intent on securing it and a generation that’s burning for a shot. The give-and-take between the two is global in scale.