More thoughts on online education

2013-02-08 2 min read

    I was excited to read that Coursera can now offer classes for college credit. I’m optimistic that this is a start of a trend that will change higher education. At first, this will be adopted by the motivated student - the one who took AP classes in high school and the price sensitive student - the one who took community college classes before transferring to a university. But over time, this will spread until it’s the dominant approach. It’s simply better. It may be more expensive to get a digital class together but it’s primarily an upfront cost that will be spent on getting the best lecturers, developing engaging lectures, and creating varied course content that’s optimized for different learning methods. This content can be accessed from anywhere and is always available.

    These classes will serve as building blocks for entirely new curriculums and courses of study. Dependencies between classes will be created so if you’re having trouble with a part of one class you can quickly go to another class that covers that topic in more depth. Companies can get involved as well and help bring the costs down. For example, a company can subsidize a classes and in return be allowed to recruit students who score highest on various sections. Companies can even create their own funnels based on the performance over a set of classes. I don’t know if this is the right approach since it will lead to corporate influence in education but I’m excited by the opportunities. This is something prior generations never had and just a shadow of what future generations will have. I’m just glad it’s so easy to keep on learning after college.