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Daphne Koller on the Future of Online Education

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Daphne Koller.

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller hopes her online education platform will expand globally as universities come to see online education as complementary to traditional learning.

Credit: Winni Wintermeyer/The Wall Street Journal

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller, former professor of artificial intelligence at Stanford University, hopes her online education platform will expand globally as more universities see online education evolving into a necessary, and inevitable, complement to traditional learning.

Although Koller, who in 2008 received the first-ever ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences, does not envision the obsolescence of traditional university education, she says online education "gives people the opportunity to pause and reflect and grapple with the material," as well as offering valuable feedback to instructors.

Universities participating in Coursera--119 in total so far--share approximately 1,000 courses free of charge on the platform, and later this year the site will open admissions for its first online MBA program from the University of Illinois. Each course available on Coursera is distinctive, demanding a blend of video lectures, assignments, and tests. The average course takes four to six weeks to complete, and course certificates that graduates can add to their resumes cost $50 to $95. Universities earn half of all revenues generated by their own courses, while Coursera's keystroke-identifying methods can help prevent users from cheating.

Koller believes a new educational model will emerge in which information is supplied online and classrooms are used for interactive experiential learning instead of for lecturing, with the ultimate effect of better learning outcomes.

From The Wall Street Journal
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