MOOCs, TED, and Online Courses

I’ve been following the development of online education and MOOCs, in part because I hope someday soon there will be a way for me to earn a certificate or degree in structural engineering using an online format.  I’d love to learn from the very best professors in the field! The tools for assessment are developing beautifully.

Salman Khan’s TED talk, about the Khan Academy, blew my mind. What this man is achieving and offering to society is absolutely amazing.

I’ve been intrigued to learn, also by watching TED videos, about Corsera‘s new achievements. Five of Corsera’s programs were recently endorsed for meeting the standards of university coursework.

The image below illustrates what I’d already heard: college costs six times more than it did the day I started.  This spike began while I was in college, and I faced mid-year tuition hikes. How do students in the US manage to repay their loans?

TED’s website explains:

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. With Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng), each keystroke, quiz, peer-to-peer discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed.

I recently received a request via email to share some images with you — I’ve included a thumbnail below that you can click to view.

Hi Dr. Chance,

I wanted to reach out to connect with you about a graphic that I helped create which takes a closer look at MOOCs and their recent growth in the education space.

I came across this post on your site: – and given that you might have an interest in the topic, I wanted to see if you’d be interested in taking a look and/or sharing the piece with your readers. If so, let me know and I’d love to pass it along!

Allison M.

Envisioning the Future of Education with Brian MacCraith

The president of Dublin City University (DCU), Prof. Brian MacCraith, delivered  a lively and informative lecture Monday night at St. Patrick’s College. His topic was Envisioning the Future of Education. And what a visionary President MacCriath is — I learned so much from his talk! I’ve not got time enough to explain all I learned; I’ll include snapshots of some interesting slides at the end of this post. I’ll explain a little in each caption.

I did look up one of the sources he used, as it ties to my map-tracking.

Internet usage by continent.

Internet usage by continent (downloaded from Internet World Statistics).

One chart he showed (above) helped explain why my blog gets fewer visitors from Africa than Europe and North America. In Africa, just 15.6% of people have Internet access. In Asia, though, there are more people with Internet than on any other continent, so why is my Asia map so blank? Still no one from China…. and of the world population of Internet users, most are in Asia.

Internet distribution

Internet distribution

The population of North America  (shown in blue on the pie chart) is tiny. As you can see above, not that many people live in North America, even though 78.6% of them use the Internet.