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School's In For Summer At Udacity 105

theodp writes "Forget about his self-driving cars. CNN reports that Sebastian Thrun's Udacity — where you and 159,999 fellow classmates can take a free, Stanford-caliber online course together at the same time — just might be the future of higher education. Interestingly, of all the students taking Thrun's AI class globally and at Stanford, the top 410 students were online; the 411th top performer was a Stanford student. 'We just found over 400 people in the world who outperformed the top Stanford student,' Thrun said."
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School's In For Summer At Udacity

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  • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Saturday July 07, 2012 @10:54AM (#40575531)
    There are other factors not accounted for as well. I took the course just to experience what the state of the art in online learning is, even though I've taken almost all of the material in my undergraduate and graduate. The course was very easy for someone who's encountered this stuff before. Probably all the Stanford students were experiencing the material for the first time.

    Also, I don't know how the class at Stanford was structured. Were those students taking an online class or a real class? As in show up and take the exam for a 3 hour period. People taking the online course had 72 hours to complete the exam, and of course it was open book, open web (even if ostensibly not). With the exams accounting for 70% of the final grade, doing well on those is a major factor.
  • Not apples-to-apples (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2012 @12:44PM (#40576177)

    I took the class and was tied for rank 1, but I have an engineering degree from a Stanford-caliber school and the 411th guy was still an undergrad. It's an interesting statistic, but it's not an apples-to-apples comparison

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2012 @09:08PM (#40579265)

    Udacity is more than just video lectures, they have a great format IMHO. A unit is 20-30 bite size videos of 30sec - 5min, and they are interspersed with quizzes and exercises so you can be sure to understand each concept. Then a set of homework problems which range from quizzes to through to medium sized exercises, and the final is similar. The really big bonus is the active discussion forum for each course, which is where a large portion of the learning is done, bouncing ideas of other students, requesting help with a difficult concept, posting links to other relevant online material.

    I've taken 2 complete courses so far, and I'm doing them on top of my fully loaded semester at uni so I can't give them quite as much time as I'd like, but I'm really enjoying the opportunity to compliment my studies.

    Regardless of whether they should or could be accredited, I'll keep taking courses! =)

  • by just another AC ( 2679463 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @06:19AM (#40581065)

    It seems they are going further than that...
    (From the google car course announcement page)
    "Dear students,
    We have listened to your feedback about how awesome, engaging, exciting and educational, but also time consuming, our classes are. We are aware that most of you have many commitments in your life - job, family, studies at offline brick-and-mortar universities, house, garden, pets, vacations, travel plans, and many other things that are incompatible with our deadline based course model. Therefore we have decided to see if making our courses self-paced will enable more people to enjoy our content and learn new and exciting things.
    The courses that are offered for the second time will have no deadlines, and you will be able to work through them at your own pace. You can start at any time, and take as much time as needed to finish the course."

    So it seems all courses not on their debut will be self paced.

    (P.S. Hooray for me... after 10+ years of stalking slashdot and posting as AC if I was going to post, I finally got off my butt and registered)

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant