Coursera - The Future of Education

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  1. How do we learn?
  2. This Company Could Be Your Next Teacher: Coursera Plots A Massive Future For Online Education
  3. What is intelligence and does it matter?
  4. This Company Could Be Your Next Teacher: Coursera Plots A Massive Future For Online Education

Now we have more than six million students, more than courses and institutions that are working for us.

How do we learn?

Daphne Koller is reminiscing. A mere year and a half later and her fledgling organization has turned into a higher education behemoth. The narrative is not if but when and how and to what extent will this completely transform the way we teach our students. And perhaps unsurprisingly, that has occasionally ruffled the feathers of educators and education insiders who have a different take on when, how and to what extent education might be transformed.

Is there some inverse snobbery at play here? But the critics also have some data. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback.

This Company Could Be Your Next Teacher: Coursera Plots A Massive Future For Online Education

Have something you think we should know about? Email us at insiderpicks businessinsider. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search".

Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Connie Chen , Insider Picks. Facebook Icon The letter F. Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url. Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email. Twitter icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting. LinkedIn icon The word "in". Fliboard icon A stylized letter F. Shutterstock Thanks to online learning platforms, a physical classroom is no longer the only place to gain an education.

To help you make sense of the different models, we compared four popular online learning platforms: Udemy , Lynda , Coursera , and Skillshare. We should steal a lot of stuff here. We could. Guest: Totally. Russ: Give me a feel for the logistics. So, some of these are courses that are offered in real time and people are taking them. But a lot of them are sitting there right now; anybody can take them whenever they want. Guest: Well, the second half is correct.

Real time is a little bit of a-- Russ: I didn't mean that.

What is intelligence and does it matter?

I interviewed John Cochrane, who taught a Coursera MOOC in finance; and he had students taking it as part of his university class, and they were being graded. But at the same time people were taking it online, around the world. Russ: But now I can take that class after the class. Guest: True.

Russ: Take the same quizzes, right? Russ: So, give me a feel, if you are able to, for what some of the more popular classes would be, at least in terms of type of classes. And what would be some of the numbers we're talking about here--and I assume there's a very long right-hand tail. I assume there's a handful of classes that are unbelievably population and there's a lot of classes that are not so popular. But give me a feel for that.

The Future of Education

Guest: Sure. So it's actually challenging to characterize our most popular classes because they come from a variety of disciplines. So, you might come in thinking that the most popular ones are going to be the ones in business and finance and so on. If you think about our top 3 or 4 classes, there's probably 2 philosophy classes, a psychology class, also 1 or 2 computer science classes and a couple of business classes.

If you look at that top 10 list, it comes from a range of different disciplines. Which I think is really cool. There is indeed, as you said, a long tail. The smaller of our classes have an initial--Oh, I forgot to tell you.

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The largest of our classes have an enrollment, initially, of ,, , The largest we've had is a social psychology class from Wesleyan, at , Now, it's important to remember, this is initial enrollment and then not everyone shows up. Median for us is about 40,; , for the median class.

This Company Could Be Your Next Teacher: Coursera Plots A Massive Future For Online Education

And then as you said there's a long tail of classes, where the smallest goes down to, you know, around 10, for initial enrollment. But oftentimes those are very niche topics or in languages other than English, and so appeal to a relatively smaller population. Russ: Those are amazing. Must make you feel good when you go to bed at night. Because that's an extraordinary thing. So, one of the issues we've talked about here before and I think about a lot, and I talk to my wife about it--who is a math teacher; my wife is an extraordinary math teacher.

I'm biased, obviously. But she's good at teaching math, and good at motivating students. And face-to-face is very powerful. We know that. But of course, she gets to teach, whatever it is here, 50, 60 kids each year in a few classes. The idea that a great teacher could teach , is really exhilarating. So, what do you think the potential is for, say, the best calculus teacher, to teach the world? Dominate the market?

That, everybody says, 'We don't have to offer calculus any more at our school, or a high school, or university, because you can just get on Coursera and take the best one? Guest: So first I think that thinking that there is the best one is an incorrect perspective, because what's best for me might not be what's best for you. I might prefer a different type of pedagogy or subset of material, and so on. Russ: There's visual learners; there are people that like to listen; there are people that like to watch, read.

Russ: So, there's three. There's 3 great calculus teachers. Guest: Maybe Or In the same way that there's more than 3 calculus textbooks. Russ: Correct. Guest: And I think there's at least as much room for variability in the online instruction as there is in textbooks, because of style-- Russ: Maybe more. Guest: Exactly. Russ: You can change it; you can make a module-based way to make it even more customized. Guest: And also the style of presentation. Text is text. But the style and how do you present things and how do you use visuals can be very, very different. So, 15, 20, 30 different versions of this.

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But I agree--we don't need Russ: It would probably be more than that, right? There's more than people who should be doing something else, instead of teaching calculus, is what I'm thinking. Guest: So, I think that's the question: is, whether the right thing to do is to say a person, the student should just go online and just take the material entirely online in that format, or whether, for a large majority of students, especially those who are younger and less formed in their thinking, the right thing to do is to have a blend, where they get some of the content delivered online and then they come into class and the teacher actually teaches as opposed to delivers content.

So, puts them together in groups and says, 'Let's solve the calculus problem together, and I'll walk around and give you advice on how you are tackling this and whether you should be doing it in a different way. Russ: What did it used to be? Guest: Well, when people had the luxury of teaching a relatively small number of students in their class, before colleges became the only path towards a better life and we had to scale up on-campus teaching, so now we have to shovel people into an auditorium, people were able to have that more 1-on-1 interaction with their students.

We no longer have that luxury in most of our large state institutions. And even in some of the private ones. And so how do we provide a mechanism by which students can regain some of that experience--as can teachers? Russ: So, let's talk about the flipped classroom. You are talking about 'blended,' and I assume by blended you mean a mix of people watching video and then other times teachers delivering the material face to face. So, the blended classroom gets a lot of love right now.