16 People Changing the Landscape of Online Education Forever

The field of online education has seen tremendous growth in the recent past. More than 6.1 million students are enrolled in various accredited degree programs offered by 2,500 colleges and universities across the United States. Almost 30 states in the country have full-time, online K-12 schools. Close to 2 million children were enrolled in K-12 distance learning programs. (This list is in no particular order).

1. Sal Khan

Sal Khan is Bangladeshi-American educator who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School. He is the founder of the Khan Academy, a free online education platform with more than 3,200 educational videos in a variety of fields including math, science, finance and humanities. Khan’s work is helping to establish free online education as a viable option for thousands of people.

2. Charles Thornburgh

Charles Thornburgh is the founder of Civitas Learning. A Stanford graduate, Charles was part of several startups including Testakers.com, a test prep tutoring application. The technology was bought by Kaplan University in 2002. Charles is a two-time CODiE Award recipient for excellence in software development, and his work is promising to open up online education to millions around the world who need access.

3. Sebastian Thrun

German Educator Sebastian Thrun is a computer scientist, and a Google Fellow. He was a former Computer Science professor at Stanford University and the former director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He was the first professor to launch an online “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” class. The course had attracted more than 160,000 students and was highly popular.

4. Eren Bali

Eren Bali also makes it to the list of 16 people who changed the landscape of online education forever. He is an entrepreneur who believes that anyone should be able teach or learn online. His company, Udemy, provides a platform for students and educators across the globe to exchange information and knowledge. His company is making it possible for thousands of students to have access to online education.

5. Gagan Biyani

Gagan Biyani is the co-founder of Udemy. He graduated from UC Berkley with a degree in Economics. He states that his goal with Udemy is to help users to be successful, whether they are trying to learn new information or expand skill sets. Biyani also works as a columnist for a mobile industry blog that is available within the well-known TechCrunch Network. He also writes for MobileCrunch, on mobile phone start ups.

6. Daphne Koller

Daphne Koller is Stanford University professor who teaches an online course called Probabilistic Graphical Models. Her courses are immensely popular. More than 44,000 people across the globe have registered for the class. She and her colleague Andrew Ng have founded Coursera, one of the world’s most advanced free online learning websites that is helping to revolutionize how people learn online.

7. Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng is a computer science faculty member at Stanford University. He is also the co-founder of Coursera with Daphne Koller. Together, they are working hard to change the landscape of online education forever by creating the most advanced platform for free online learning that is accessible to millions. This is one of the leading new free online education websites that is transforming online education.

8. John Hennessy

John Hennessy is another Stanford University Computer Science faculty member who is part of the 16 people who changed the landscape of online education forever. He is also the 10th President of Stanford University. He has a well-known interest in and involvement in computer education both in class and online. His online courses have been immensely popular, and thousands have enrolled in his classes.

9. Walter Lewin

Walter Lewin is a Dutch American astrophysicist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His last lecture along with some of his famous demonstrations is available for free on the MIT OpenSource website. His programs are popular among students, professionals and amateurs who love physics and learning online. He has been awarded with many prizes and awards in scientific achievement.

10. Richard A. DeMillo

Richard DeMillo is a professor of Computing and Management at Georgia Tech. As the President of the institute, he introduced technology courses to arts and humanities programs to keep up with the demands of the modern world.He has written more than 100 articles, books and patents on computer security. Georgia Tech’s computer science program has risen markedly in stature during his tenure.

11. Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen is Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He has proposed a disruption theory in education, and believes that online education will soon disrupt the traditional classroom learning. His theories have contributed immensely to growth of online education industry. Due to his efforts in part, the online education world is expanding at a very rapid pace.

12. George Siemens

George Siemens is a well-known learning theorist who specializes in digitally-based societies. He wrote the article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, and also the book Knowing Knowledge, which explores the impact of the different context and knowledge characteristics. His work is helping to transform the world of online education by pushing for open teaching.

13. Anant Agarwal

Anant Agarwal is professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, and he also is the first president of edX, a joint partnership between The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University to offer online learning to millions of people around the world. This sites promises to transform online education, and could possibly someday partially supplant traditional campus education.

14. Jan Philipp Schmidt

Jan Philipp Schmidt is the co-founder of Peer 2 Peer University, or P2PU, a grassroots organization that promotes online social learning. Schmidt is an activist for open education and is a tireless innovator and social entrepreneur. He wrote the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, and also was a board member for the Open Course Ware Consortium. His site is helping to bring online education to the masses.

15. Shai Reshef

Shai Reshef is a famous entrepreneur in education with over 20 years of experience. He founded University of the People, which is an online university that does not charge tuition. The organization is dedicated to democratizing higher education to make it more available to more people at low cost. This is opening up the world of online education to people in distant countries who do have broadband Internet.

16. Richard Baraniuk

Richard Baraniuk is one of the founders and leaders of the open education movement. The purpose of the open education movement is to share knowledge, education and teaching materials free across the Internet, all over the world. Baraniuk was the founder of Connexions, which offers open source textbooks on the Internet. Many people in developing countries are now able to access online education due to his efforts.