In fall 2011, Sebastian Thrun, a research professor at Stanford, and Peter Norvig, the top scientist at Google, teamed up to develop and teach a free, online course on artificial intelligence. Their aim, as Norvig said in , was to develop a course at least as good as, if not better than, the course they teach together at Stanford. They’d put the result online and make it available to everyone, for free.
Over a 160,000 students signed up. About half that many, he explains, participated in some way through to the end. And 20,000 finished the course.
This is an astonishing example of the way MOOCs ”” massively open online courses ”” may be able to transform education as we know it, changing it from the privilege of an elite into a shared commons that is open and free to everyone.
There are grounds for concern, though….