|Stanford offers free online classes|
|Written by John Schuller, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Monday, 17 October 2011 15:32|
Stanford University’s engineering department is starting to offer online classes free of charge to any student who signs up for them off its website.
“Since the website launch a little over two weeks ago, over 75,000 people have signed up for the class and we’ve had over one million video views,” Andrew Ng, associate professor in the computer science department, said.
The engineering department is only offering three courses in computer science, but they are some of the school’s more popular courses, including Machine Learning, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Introduction to Databases.
Distributing lectures and course material online is not new for the university, which plans on teaching the courses by using short video clips stringed together as a single lecture series.
There are also interactive quizzes and a system the university is testing that would allow the professors to rank questions posed to them.
With these new technologies, officials at Stanford are hoping to reach individuals who are not able to take courses in computer technology.
“We’re very excited about being able to offer these classes for free to anyone,” Ng, who is teaching the Machine Learning course, said.
Back home, ISU has many courses offered over the Internet, with a bulk only offered during the summer semester. This coming summer, there will be over 100 courses offered online.
With the ability for students to take these courses online, it gives students the ability to catch up on courses while home on break, according to James Wolf, associate professor in the School of Information Technology.
“The biggest advantage of ISU’s online courses is that you can take the exact same course, taught by the exact same faculty members while you are home for the summer that you would get in the fall and winter semesters,” Wolf said.
In comparison with other universities that use lower-cost adjunct professors or using professors who would not normally teach the courses, ISU is able to offer better rounded online courses, Wolf said.
ISU offers more than just online courses, but also online supplements that are meant to supplement the courses, which includes blending materials and activities that professors use for online classes into courses taught traditionally.
“ISU is a university that takes the quality of classroom teaching very seriously. If someone, anywhere in the world, is using technology in their classroom, you can bet that someone at ISU is looking into that technology,” Wolf said.
The university has also set up a group on campus to help faculty members use technology in their classrooms, called the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology.
This center is meant to help faculty members that are teaching classes throughout the year, including the summer, and provides any aid they might need from online classes to blended courses.
“The university has wisely given the professors running the online courses the freedom and support they need to choose activities which work best for the subject matter,” Wolf said.