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TED Talk: What we're learning from online education

Daphne Koller: What we're learning from online education


Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free -- not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. Each keystroke, comprehension quiz, peer-to-peer forum discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed and, most importantly, absorbed.


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Think how dangerous this is in the wrong hands

"Each keystroke, comprehension quiz, peer-to-peer forum discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed and, most importantly, absorbed."

Kind of like what having the full data set of Google would do for you, if you want to control a planet full of people.

She lost me at

"education is a fundamental human right...". I just wish it didn't take the whole video to hear her say that!

Absolutely. You have a right

Absolutely. You have a right to your life, your liberty and your property. People like this act as though education didn't exist when Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence was written. The men who wrote them were very educated, so they had clearly determined education is a service not a right.

Besides, all of this already exists! It is the internet, it is interviews posted with these same professors who teach these same courses that people can view whenever they want to. When they choose to view them, they are more likely to absorb the material than when they have go to a class. All one needs is a computer and internet, and those are goods, not rights. In most countries where internet isn't available, it is likely the government standing in the way of attaining these goals. Let the free market work.

Love that Mark Twain quote though.

Many Reservations about online teaching


In a narrow application, yes. Like any other teaching tool or method, online teaching has its place. No disagreement there.

It can work well outside the US, as most foreign students demonstrate superior motivation, intellectual curiosity, and disciplined scholarship than most US students who suffer from an extreme scene of entitlement


Too impersonal. Web cams and audio is no substitute for a teacher in person, one-on-one and face-to-face with a student. True teaching is an intimate art of one person interacting with another. If you don't think so, try earning a major with the subjects taught by interactive animated cartoon.

Not all subjects or majors can or ought to be taught solely online.
Science, engineering and similar fields requires serious lab and field work, with the teacher right there to point out important nuances.

A "Paper Mill" mentality can result, with students gaining degrees is marginal fields that will have little of no application. Also a "bumper crop" effect of too many with the same online degree that exceeds the job market's need.

Peer grading would never work in the US. I do not believe US students can grade themselves objectively and within proper criteria. Most of them are too academically lazy. Just ask college professors who deal with students whining why their C minus work should have rated an "A+".

She advocates multiple choice tests, and yet expects greater academic rigor? Seems a paradox of the goal.

Once online courses hit a certain mass, the quality will go down. Universities and colleges are a business like everything else, and the bottom line is important. They don't care about freshmen/sophomore courses anyway. Lower echelon subjects pay the bills for professors and the upper-tier students as the real money is in research, not teaching students!

Who pays for these overseas online courses to poor folk? I have seen State schools in the past be very generous using tax dollars and tuition money to provide free services to overseas students. A nice grand gesture by the state college, sure, but what about charity at home first for those who foot the bill?

There seems to be a "Silver Bullet mentality by proponents of online education. Plenty of initiatives that were suppose to be the last word in education over time have fallen by the wayside or find themselves a limited niche.

Conscience does not exist if not exercised

"No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up!
---Lily Tomlin

Check out aplia.com

Check out aplia.com We get college students contacting us telling us that our online homework teaches them better than their professor. Our mission is 'helping students learn'. I think it is important to differentiate between online learning that is just a scan of the textbook and some multiple choice questions, vs a real attempt to help students learn the course material.


Aplia was founded by Paul Romer : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Romer

Romer has some interesting ideas about Hong-Kong-like city states in 3rd world countries....based on the believe that if you build it (and people can be free and protected to be successful there), people and industry will move in.


Milton Friedman Describes Hong Kong as an Example of the Free Market System :


I hate to say it...

As fascinated as I am about the potential of this, I can also see this becoming the ultimate propaganda tool should the wrong people become in control of it.

The data from your interaction tells them exactly how you think. They could then perfect the brainwashing and start right away on younger generations.


Thanks for that

Thanks for that sharpsteve...I just signed...I think I'll start with "A History of the World Since 1300."

You'd do better to watch Tom

You'd do better to watch Tom Woods lectures on History, they are free too and actually not the propaganda Ivy League schools teach.

Count me out on this one. I

Count me out on this one. I prefer to abstain from being a laboratory rat just so the government can figure out why their propaganda doesn't work on everyone.

Higher education in America is, in far too many instances, simply pathetic. Actually, it's a joke.

Global Social Engineering 101/A21

Look closer at 4:00 - 4:45 or so, then again at 14:00 and pay attention.


Global Social Engineering 101/A21.

I can see how it is exciting to a lot of people. There are so many people involved that want total control and just do not understand resistance to "ism". There is no 'ism' in freedom. Keep your eyes wide open. Nothing is free, among the least of which is this 'education'.

3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds

(Do away with people...)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

What about

elementary school? My mom teaches 6th grade at the local christian school, and she constantly complains about one of the public schools the kids are coming to her class from. Every kid that comes from that particular school made straight A's through the whole school, but get to her class and can barely read, dont really know how to add or subtract, and it goes down hill from there. I know that sight word is the reason why they cant really read, but I cont figure what they are doing with math to make the kids so dumb, any light shed would be appreciated.

whole language and new math and endless mindless entertainment

to answer your question. And I would recommend looking into THE DELIBERATE DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA Charlotte Iserbyt and anything by John Taylor Gatto if you really want to get into it.

Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

Another name for it is Prussian schooling

It took Prussian schooling about 50-100 years for it to transform German society to that which accepted the Nazis. They started implementing it in the late 18th century to early 19th century. The US only imported this schooling model and established it in the late 19th to early 20th century. We're seeing the fruition of their work.

Also, the trivium is important to research

Also, the trivium is a related subject which is how to educate to produce logical critical thinkers. There is some information on this site:


Also, this 15hr podcast set by some folks who interviewed John Taylor Gatto and it covers the length of history that gives you the big picture in which the dumbing down of education is a part. It can answer the questions, who, what, where, when, why and how, which leads to real understanding, and you set you on your own path of learning.


Very worth listening to!

reedr3v's picture

Those are GREAT suggestions. Also

for positive inspiration in a rather different direction:

Non for profit universities???

Nooo that'd be too much like the Greeks of old

if they are not selling you a product

you are the product.

reedr3v's picture

Open source innovation