Title: The Online Revolution: High-Quality Education for Everyone
Speaker: Daphne Koller (Stanford University)
When: Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 3:30pm
Where: Electrical Engineering Building (EEB) Room 105
Last year, Stanford University offered three online courses, which anyone in the world could enroll in and take for free. Students were expected to submit homework, meet deadlines, and were awarded a “Statement of Accomplishment” only if they met our high grading bar.
Together, these three courses had enrollments of around 350,000 students, making this one of the largest experiments in online education ever performed. In the past few months, we have transitioned this effort into a new venture, Coursera, a social entrepreneurship company that partners with top universities to provide high-quality content to everyone around the world for free. In this talk, I’ll report on this new experiment in education, and why we believe this model can provide both an improved classroom experience for our on-campus students, via a flipped classroom model, as well as a meaningful learning experience for the millions of students around the world who would otherwise never have access to education of this quality. I’ll describe the pedagogical foundations for this type of teaching, and the key technological ideas that support them, including easy-to-create video chunks, a scalable online Q&A forum where students can get their questions answered quickly, sophisticated autograded homework, and a carefully designed peer grading pipeline that supports the at-scale grading of more open-ended homework, such as essay questions, derivations, or business plans.
Whereas technology and automation have made almost all segments of our economy—such as agriculture, energy, manufacturing, transportation—vastly more efficient, education today isn’t much different than it was 300 years ago. Given also the rising costs of higher education, the hyper-competitive nature of college admissions, and the lack of access to a high quality education, we think there is a huge opportunity to use modern internet and AI technology to inexpensively offer a high quality education online. Through such technology, we envision millions of people gaining access to the world-leading education that has so far been available only to a tiny few, and using this education to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.
Joint project with Andrew Ng, Stanford University
Daphne Koller is the Rajeev Motwani Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University and the Oswald Villard University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. Her main research interest is in developing and using machine learning and probabilistic methods to model and analyze complex domains. She is the author of over 180 refereed publications, which have appeared in venues that include Science, Cell, and Nature Genetics (her H-index is over 80). She also has a long-standing interest in education. She founded the CURIS program, the Stanford Computer Science Department’s undergraduate summer internship program, and the Biomedical Computation major at Stanford. She pioneered in her classroom many of the ideas that are key to Stanford’s massive online education effort. She was awarded the Sloan Foundation Faculty Fellowship in 1996, the ONR Young Investigator Award in 1998, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 1999, the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award in 2001the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2004, the ACM/Infosys award in 2008, and was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2011. Her teaching was recognized via the Cox Medal for excellence in fostering undergraduate research at Stanford in 2003, and by being named a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education.