The end of in-class lectures is closer than I thought


Our previous post on future of (statistics) graduate education was motivated by  he Stanford online course on Artificial Intelligence.  Here is an update on the class that had 160,000 people enroll. Some highlights: 1- Sebastian Thrun has given up his tenure at Stanford and he’s started a new online university called Udacity. 2- 248 students got a perfect score: they never got a single question wrong, over the entire course of the class. All 248 took the course online; not one was enrolled at Stanford. 3- Students from Afghanistan completed the course. What do you think are the chances these students could afford Stanford’s tuition? 4 - There were more students from Lithuania alone than there are students at Stanford altogether.

The class evaluations were not perfect. Here is a particularly harsh one. They also need to figure out how to evaluate online students. But I am sure there are plenty of people working on that problem. Here is an example. Regardless, this was the first such experiment and for a first try it seems like a huge success to me. As more professors try this, for example Harvard’s Gary King is conducting a similar class in Quantitative Research Methodology, it will become clearer that there is no future for in-class lectures as we know them today.

Thanks to Alex and Jeff for all the links.