Udacity, the digital university co-founded by artificial intelligence and robotics pioneer Sebastian Thrun, has raised $15 million, joining a crop of online education startups to attract venture capi…
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.
Innovation is a game of not only imagination but also speed. To that end, Steve Stringer, in Research Technology Management, suggests that computer modeling, which can go down to the atomic level, may replace rather than just supplement conventional R&D.;