Udacity's Sebastian Thrun, Godfather of Free Online Education, Changes Course | Fast Company

An article by Max Chafkin in Fast Company highlights Sebastian Thrun's disappointment in the MOOC revolution. Thrun, who built the Udacity MOOC platform and taught the first MOOC (on AI, with 160,000 students), argues that the high dropout rates and low pass rates of MOOCs show a disparity between the hype of accessibility and the reality of unbalanced success rates. 

Chafkin writes:

"As Thrun was being praised by Friedman, and pretty much everyone else, for having attracted a stunning number of students--1.6 million to date--he was obsessing over a data point that was rarely mentioned in the breathless accounts about the power of new forms of free online education: the shockingly low number of students who actually finish the classes, which is fewer than 10%. Not all of those people received a passing grade, either, meaning that for every 100 pupils who enrolled in a free course, something like five actually learned the topic. If this was an education revolution, it was a disturbingly uneven one."

 

Read the full article on Fast Company:

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