It has been only a year since Stanford University pioneered the concept of MOOCs – massive, open online courses, with two classes in computer science. This year, Stanford is expanding its free online course offerings to 16 new classes. They cover a wide range – from cryptography, science writing, finance and computer science, to mathematics, linguistics and sociology.
This rapidly expanding selection of MOOCs, which offers people around the world the opportunity for a high quality education, is slowly becoming a challenge to traditional higher education. Technology is allowing this to happen, and also, the rising cost of a regular college education is somewhat bringing the issue to a head.
Stanford also has announced two software platforms that are going to host the new courses. Each platform has its own unique capabilities, such as video lectures, forums for discussion, peer assessments, quizzes, team projects and problem sets.
The potential for these MOOCs is huge. A recent Stanford class, Technology Entrepreneurship, attracted 37,000 students when it first came online in the spring.
The most popular online learning platform is Coursera, and it is going to host 9 Stanford classes this term. One of them is a new course called Writing in the Sciences, and another called Human-Computer Interaction. The latter course had 29,000 students last term.
The new classes being offered free online from Stanford are:
- Machine Learning
- Introduction to Mathematical Thinking
- Probablistic Graphical Models
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Introduction to Logic
- Organizational Analysis
- Writing in the Sciences
- Algorithms: Design and Analysis
- Technology Entrepreneurship
- A Crash Course on Creativity
- Designing a New Learning Environment
- Startup Boards: Advanced Entrepreneurship
- Solar Cells, Fuel Cells and Batteries
- An Introduction to Computer Networks