Tag Archives: future

Free Higher Education with Udacity

Udacity

The world of higher education could be on the verge of a major paradigm shift. Sebastian Thrun, a former professor of computer science at Stanford, has stepped down from his academic post to dedicate himself to running Udacity, an online university poised to offer high quality online education. At first glance, this might not seem like a big deal because there are literally hundreds of online universities. But here’s the catch: Thrun, together with cofounder, David Evans, formed the company with a goal of providing these classes to anyone for FREE. That might send a shudder through many cash-strapped traditional universities, working hard to survive in times of budget cuts and pressure to offer more services. Udacity has powerful backing. Thrun has already used the model to provide a highly successful free course through Stanford in 2011. He and Peter Novig (Director of Research at Google) developed an “Intro to Artificial Intelligence” as an experiment and ultimately ended up with 160,000 students from all over the world. It took a small army of 2,000 volunteer translators to eliminate language barriers. The end result was highly successful.

Thrun has also dispensed with the classic idea of assigning grades. In fact, he has stated: Grades are the failure of the education system. His approach is to allow students to continue working on material until they master it. He envisions an entire class finishing at an A+ level. His vision draws on something said by Salman Khan, founder of the online Khan Academy: “When you learn to ride a bicycle, and you fail to learn a bicycle, you don’t stop to learn a bicycle, give the person a ‘D’ and move onto unicycle.” A class is about teaching and learning, not about segmenting and categorizing achievement.

Udacity’s first official course begins February 20th, 2012 and people are already gearing up to be part of the grand experiment. The next course is titled: Building Your Own Search Engine. I for one, will be watching to see what I can learn from Udacity and its new approach to teaching and learning. These ideas will begin restructuring higher education on the New Digital Shoreline. For more see Udacity.

K-State Press Release

Keeping up with the tech-savvy: Professor’s new book looks at how smartphones, tablet computers reshaping learning and teaching

MANHATTAN — College students are bringing their playthings — laptops, smartphones, tablet computers — into the classroom, and that’s good news for professors and for higher education, according to a Kansas State University expert.

Roger McHaney, a K-State management professor who specializes in education technology and training, is the author of the new book, “The New Digital Shoreline: How Web 2.0 and Millennials are Revolutionizing Higher Education.”

McHaney, the Daniel D. Burke Chair for Exceptional Faculty and a university distinguished teaching scholar, says professors shouldn’t view today’s mobile information devices as distractions, but rather as tools for learning. In his book, he makes the case for changes institutions must make to attract and engage today’s students.

“Two forces beyond our control — Web. 2.0 and tech-savvy millennials on campus — are shaping what I call the new digital shoreline of higher education,” McHaney said.

McHaney says his book, released by Stylus, is a tool for new and seasoned teachers to understand how today’s students get their information and how things like smartphones can help professors teach in new and improved ways.

“Web 2.0, social media and the constant flow of information that we are all exposed to are not only changing the way that we communicate, but the way students learn and professors teach,” he said. “Mobile apps, content sharing and these tech-savvy students can become assets in the classroom, even if they sometimes seem distracting.”

McHaney said that new ways of communicating with students can help create a base for lifelong learning.

“These students are motivating us to see the potential of the vast, co-created information resources within interconnected nodes,” he said. “We’re being challenged to rethink information creation, storage and delivery.”

Mobile information devices also provide students with new capabilities.

“They are time-slicers, shape-shifters, creators and mobile connectors. Their playthings will be the tools of their future,” he said.

The book’s eight chapters cover such subjects as platforms for learning, Web 2.0 and social learning, what students are finding on this new digital shoreline, what teachers can do beyond just adding new technology and more.

Along with education technology, McHaney’s research areas include discrete event simulation, computer-mediated communication systems and organization computing. His work has been published in numerous journals and he has lecture around the world. McHaney has written for textbooks and he has developed a variety of instructional materials, including ELATEwiki.

From: http://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/oct11/mchaney100611.html