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“It’s weight loss — not by watching someone else lose weight, but by you doing the work,” says Thrun.
Also in 2008, George Siemens, associate director of the Learning Technologies Center at the University of Manitoba, began teaching MOOCs with several thousand participants beyond the “core” of credit-earning Manitoba students.
Siemens says he did not always have the means to give the non-enrolled students personalized feedback, but encouraged them to assess each other’s coursework. T.’s [Open Course Ware] questioned the value of content as an economic value point.
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In November, Wolfram Burgard, a professor of computer science at the University of Freiburg, in Germany, administered an online midterm exam for a course in artificial intelligence to 54 students.
Only the Stanford students, and perhaps some of those taking the tests under Burgard’s watch in Freiburg, stand to redeem their efforts in Norvig and Thrun’s course for credit.
And yet the Stanford experiment punches a few more bricks out of the barrier that historically has kept “elite” courses in sequestration, creating more footholds for the so-called “edupunks” who would sooner scale that ivied wall than buy a key to the gate.We congratulate the above universities for making available their valuable knowledge and resources to students worldwide.We have also reached out to the Open Courseware Consortium to see how we can do our bit to spread open education.“I think it goes a step further [than many existing open courseware projects],” says Thrun.The option of submitting coursework that will be acknowledged by the professors -- rather than just reading a syllabus and watching lectures -- “forces you to exercise,” he says.The test-takers sat in the lecture hall, spaced at least a meter apart, with proctors roaming the aisles to make sure nobody was looking up clues or chatting online with co-conspirators. Some were enrolled at Freiburg, some at the Technical University of Munich, some at the University of Hamburg, and several from outside Germany.Most were hoping to get credit for the course at their home universities, which meant they would have to return to Freiburg in mid-December to take a proctored final exam; no small chore for a pair visiting from Paris, and the one who had flown in from Finland, a distance of 1,500 miles.There’s also the fact that Norvig and Thrun, whose good words would certainly count toward anyone’s candidacy for a job in the field, do not plan to personally vouch for any of the non-Stanford contingent.“I’m not going to write 20,000 letters of recommendation,” says Thrun. Open Course Ware and former president of the international Open Course Ware Consortium.But there are no human lectures or office hours built into the OLI courses.Students taking those courses independently do not get tokens of achievement for completing coursework.