Stanford University in the USA has been running an online course in ‘machine-learning’ – for free! Over a hundred thousand students enrolled and tens of thousands completed the course. They also did the same tests as the Stanford students and thousands passed.
What’s more Stanford, in co-operation with the Michigan, Penn (Pennsylvania) and Princeton, are planning to roll out more of these courses. Naturally, to be successful, they have to do more than teach computer science; so, to prove it can be done, next autumn they are going to offer a course in modern and contemporary American poetry - Wallace Stevens's 'Sunday Morning' , mmmm, sounds wonderful! Al Filreis, poetry prof from Penn University is going to be the person taking on the challenge.
And, you may be wondering why they are doing this: “By providing what is a truly high quality educational experience to so many students for free, I think we can really change many, many people’s lives,” says Daphne Kohler from Stanford.
And if you think this applies only to higher ed, you can think again. Take a look at, for instance, the Khan Academy, which offers free online tuition in a wide range of subjects.