The future of teaching in universities

Two separate pieces – one on the radio and one in the Economist (22 December 2012) – have caught my eyes and ears this week regarding the future of my profession. in a week when I have been trained up on another piece of software to facilitate electronic interaction with students, it looks like the future of the small lecture is in doubt.
The market has arrived. Leading the way are two start-ups from Stanford University in the US. Udacity and Coursera both offer what are called ‘massive open online courses’ or MOOCs.Coursera boasts now that its most successful class, “How to reason and argue”, attracts 180,000 students. Udacity runs another course on machine learning run by Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research; 160,000 students are signed up to that. Now Harvard and MIT are getting in on the act with $30m of investment to present lectures from the Ivy League universities. At the moment none of these are credit bearing courses, but the potential is clear. The article can be read in full following this link:
Last week the BBC Radio 4’s “The Bottom Line” dedicated half an hour to discuss the trends with a Vice Chancellor (Liverpool) and two private sector providers. It made very interesting listening. I have downloaded it from the BBC’s website and uploaded it here Bottom Line Education

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