Daily Archives: July 20, 2012

IEEE Interview: Teaching the World – Daphne Koller and Coursera

IEEE Interview: Teaching the World – Daphne Koller and Coursera

In my August installment of my IEEE Computer magazine Computing Conversations column, I interview Daphne Koller, Stanford Computer Science professor and Coursera cofounder. The other cofounder of Coursera is Andrew Ng, also a Stanford professor. This interview was filmed May 25, 2012 during a visit to Coursera headquarters in Mountain View, CA.

I think that it is particularly interesting that the Coursera, Udacity, and edX efforts all were created by people with Computer Science/Engineering backgrounds and in particular people with interests in Artificial Intelligence.

The trend toward opening up college courses while they are being taught started back in 2007 with David Wiley. Others like George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, and others increased the sizes of these open courses and explored different pedagogical approaches to the courses.

But in the Fall of 2011, three Stanford courses were opened to the world and they effectively took the idea of large-scale open courses and pushed it up to 11. With all three courses seeing an enrollment of over 100,000 students, it opened up the possibility of a whole new level of scale in terms of the number of students enrolled.

Once this new frontier was identified, people are moving quickly to explore the possibilities of large-scale open courses (some call these MOOCs). Coursera, Udacity, and edX were formed to move these amazing experiments more towards the mainstream by making technology available to more instructors, universities and students. Even though these efforts are still only a few months old – they are capturing a lot of mind share and they are quite successful already.

Who knows where these efforts will take us in 3-5 years?

Note: I am excited to be teaching a course in Coursera as part of the University of Michigan participation called Internet History, Technology, and Security that starts Monday July 23, 2012 (i.e. next Monday).