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What happens when an education experiment goes horribly, horribly right?

Marc Sanchez Jan 24, 2012

 Speaking at the 2012 Digital Life Design conference in Germany this week, Stanford professor, Sebastian Thrum, gave the audience a rundown of his anybody-can-attend university course on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The course was offered to Stanford students and was broadcast around the globe to online students. There was no waitlist for the 160,000 students that signed up for the class, who were all allowed to participate, take tests, and receive grades. Reuters points out that, “when [the class] finished, thousands of students around the world were educated and inspired. Some 248 of them, in total, 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.” It turns out that no one was more surprised by the outcome than Thrum, who has decided to give up his tenured teaching position at Stanford and start a project called Udacity, a university with the purpose of providing free, online, college courses. Thrun and his colleges hope to enroll 500,000 people worldwide. And that means you too. Sign up for CS101 right now, which is a coding class that promises to “teach you enough about computer science that you can build a web search engine like Google or Yahoo!” in just seven weeks. What are you waiting for?

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