Thursday, August 23, 2012

Change and Education

We all know that change in large organizations are often painfully slow.  This is good news for those who want to keep everything as it is, but for those innovators that want to catch the next wave it is frustrating.  But what happens when a whole industry changes?  We have seen these major changes take place in industries in  the past: the automobile industry and TQM, the office and the personal computer, and of course the Internet and World Wide Web.   There is another paradigm shift taking place and that is in education.  Until recently technological advances have simply added value without changing the paradigm.  Now there is a growing convergence of technology and young entrepreneurs that is leading to a major shift in education thinking and delivery.  This is far bigger that the debate about Internet education vs brick and mortar.

Does free sound good?  One of the catalysts to the major shift has been the willingness of top Universities to offer their professors' courses online for free.  Would you rather take a course from the Jr. College teacher or the person who is defining the field?  While some of you might like the former, many professionals and others are choosing the latter.  Initially these super courses were offered through the institutions they came from: MIT, Harvard, Stanford etc.  But now another shift is taking place as consolidators move into to offer courses from many institutions.  Coursera is now a major player in this move.  Read the email below of what they are doing as we move into the start of the school year in the US.

Dear Coursarians,

It’s been a wild month—launching 12 new university partners, kicking off Coursera Meetups with a massive BBQ, finishing our first peer-graded course (Human Computer Interaction) and announcing that over 1 million students have signed up to take courses. We also know that we are still very much in our early days. There is still so much that we want to do to improve our platform to make it an even better learning experience for you and still so many courses that we hope to offer.

We are also excited to welcome you back to school in a big way with 29 classes starting between now and the end of September. From Gamification, to Statistics, to Modern Poetry, to Big Data, to Social Network Analysis and more! Grab a friend, find a local study group and learn with students from all of the world through the forums.

Happy back to school!
Andrew, Daphne and your Cousera Team |

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