Skillshare Takes On the Education Gap

April Joyner,

Inc. magazine

Apr 2, 2013

What if anyone could go take to the Web to learn a job-getting new skill, at $20 a pop?

Michael Karn­janaprako­rn believes that edu­ca­tion and learn­ing are two dif­fer­ent things. And when it comes to…

Skillshare Takes On the Education Gap

Skillshare Takes On the Education Gap

Udacity, Udemy: MOOCs disrupt conventional science and tech talent acquisition and education

English: Diagram of the typical financing cycl...
English: Diagram of the typical financing cycle for a startup company. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MOOCs, Large Courses Open to All, Topple Campus Walls –

New Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs and startup companies such as Udacity and Udemy are turning conventional education on its head.  Udacity, a startup which is supported by Charles River Ventures,  was created by former professors at Stanford  who taught one AI course online last Fall which attracted 160,000 students n 190 countries (the original 200 who registered for the course on campus soon dwindled to 30 as most preferred online learning with simulations similar to  Khan Academy.) The professors promptly quit Stanford to start a company, noting that they “took the red” pill and “saw Wonderland” and could never go back to conventional teaching again.  Udemy, a startup with backing from the founders of Groupon is another venture. These sites will monetize students’ skills and help them get jobs by getting their permission to sell leads to recruiters. So if a recruiter is looking for the hundred best people in some geographic area that know about machine learning, that’s something they could provide, for a fee.

Experts note that in a MOOC, instead of the classroom being the center, it becomes just one node of the network of social interactions. In a classroom, when you ask a question, one student answers and the others don’t get a chance. Online, with embedded quizzes, everyone has to try to answer the questions. And if they don’t understand, they can go back and listen over and over until they do.

Coursera partners with universities to create new science, humanities and engineering programs

Just finished a great class!
Just finished a great class! (Photo credit: brewbooks)


Coursera Plans to Announce University Partners for Online Classes –


Two more Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller have broken off to create a new online learning startup called Coursera with financial backing from two of Silicon Valley’s premier venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. The startup will provide interactive courses in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences and engineering using the inverted Khan Academy model of knowledge management and partnering with top universities including Stanford,  University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton. It has secured $16 million in venture capital.


Unlike many new startups, the business model is becoming clear. From a community of millions of learners some should ‘opt in’ for valuable, premium services. Those revenues should fund investment in tools, technology and royalties to faculty and universities.” In fact there is a fear that these startups will “disintermediate” universities by spotting the brightest talents among students and hiring them directly. Other startups include Minerva. For essays, students help by grading each other’s work and providing peer coaching (with an average 22 minute response time).


The companies are providing real world ROI examples including workers who have been able to keep their jobs by upgrading their skills or solve difficult problems such as the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.




Stanford artificial intelligence e-learning course draws four times the entire student body

There is currently no consensus on how closely...
There is currently no consensus on how closely the brain should be simulated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inspired by Khan Academy a new Stanford e-learning course on AI has triggered a huge volume of interest (4 times the size of the entire student body!)

Stanford Artificial Intelligence course draws avalanche of sign-ups.

Using video to re-invent education (TEDTalks)

English: Salman Khan, famous for the Khan Acad...
English: Salman Khan, famous for the Khan Academy, speaking at TED 2011. Cropped from the original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


An excellent overview of the potential of online video to re-invent education by hedge fund analyst and creator Salman Khan.


Salman Khan: Lets use video to reinvent education | Video on




Knowledge Systems Institute Graduate School of Computer Science Bioinformatics

The Periodic Table of Bioinformatics by Eagle ...
The Periodic Table of Bioinformatics by Eagle Genomics Ltd. (Photo credit: dullhunk)

Knowledge Systems Institute :: Graduate School of Computer Science.

Bioinformatics degrees

MIT OpenCourseWare 21A.215 Medical Anthropology


MIT Opencourseware
MIT Opencourseware (Photo credit:

MIT OpenCourseWare | Anthropology | 21A.215 Medical Anthropology, Fall 2004 | Readings.

University of Michigan College of Engineering & Computer Science

University of Michigan – Dearborn: College of Engineering & Computer Science.

e-Science: Computers as Science


Recent articles have pointed to the shift in the view of computer science from “creating tools for scientists” to actually creating the science itself. It’s about oceans, stars, cancer cells, proteins and networks of friends. Ken Birman, a computer science professor at Cornell University , says his discipline is on the way to becoming “the universal science,” a framework underpinning all others, including the social sciences. An extravagant claim from someone with a vested interest? The essence of Birman’s assertion is that computers have gone from being a tool serving science — basically an improvement on the slide rule and abacus — to being part of the science.