Rise of online teaching sets a clicking pace for universities

by Catherine Armitage, Sydney Morning Herald

The phenomenal success of a ”crazy idea” by a Stanford University professor, Sebastian Thrun, to open free online enrolments in his artificial intelligence course has pundits sounding the death knell for higher education as we know it. His new venture is Udacity, a 20-person free online education start-up funded by venture capital. More than 130,000 people signed up for the first two courses in January – building a robotic car and a web-search engine. He believes that in 50 years, there will be a small number of institutions – maybe only 10 – offering ”amazing educational products that will educate many millions of students”. He says ”as technology allows for scale, the number of providers will shrink”, noting this has happened in ”pretty much every industry”.


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