This morning on NPR there was a short story about a new start-up company out of Stanford that has piloted offering FREE university-level courses with full assessment of student performance, for free. University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and University of Michigan are also participating. The new company is called Coursera and venture capitalists have put in $15 million. A pilot course in computer science already had 100,000 students “attend”, and they were given the same instruction and exams that tuition-paying Stanford students received. Thousands completed the course. New pilots, including poetry, with innovative student feedback mechanisms are in the works.
If Khan Academy has 40 million users worldwide in under three years, and this type of college group gains traction, just imagine what the face of K-12 and college education is going to be 10 years from now. Every school leader in the nation needs to be asking deeply about the value proposition of their current program in light of these incredibly disruptive innovations.