30 Nov 2011
The future of education
I have been watching excitedly as Stanford rains down free online courses left, right and center. I don’t really know what prompted this sudden onpour of online courses. What I do know is that this very well could turn out to be the future of education.
Stanford might just be doing this with an eye towards a global market, and could be giving away these courses freely only for a limited amount of time as they go about testing the waters. I am not worried about these courses becoming paid in future. So long the price is reasonable, I am willing to pay for them. One drawback of keeping them free is that I see plenty of people signing up for all of them, and in the end, not doing justice to any of them.
Watching these videos give me the urge to consider going back to the college to learn more. However, access to good educational materials should not necessarily be confined to the physical walls of an intuition. Even though there are plenty of online and offline resources available for us to learn from, there is definitely a need for structured courses, videos, learning materials and assignments. Stanford and the Khan Academy have set a precedent for world class education to be available to those who want to learn new things throughout their life and at their own pace. It will now be interesting to see if other universities like MIT follow. I hope they do.