The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course

From Eric Westerveld .

Other schools are hitting the pause button as well. A recent University of Pennsylvania study confirmed a massive problem: MOOCs have painfully few active users. About half who registered for a class ever viewed a lecture, and completion rates averaged just 4 percent across all courses.

Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s co-founder and a prime mover in MOOCs, recently told Fast Company magazine, “We were on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, and at the same time, I was realizing, we don’t educate people as others wished, or as I wished. We have a lousy product.”

Thrun says he doesn’t regret that position. “I think that’s just honest, and I think we should have an honest discourse about what we do,” he says.

“Online education that leaves almost everybody behind except for highly motivated students, to me, can’t be a viable path to education. We look back at our early work and realize it wasn’t quite as good as it should have been. We had so many moments for improvement.” That the former Stanford professor and inventor — whose online artificial intelligence course helped kick off the MOOC frenzy — was fundamentally rethinking its viability shook the higher education world.

What was missing, many students complained, was a human connection beyond the streamed lecture.
Possibilities: teaching assisstants,  (linked in: tutor 15′ is free, after theat you have to pay.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.