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Stanford To Offer Free CS and Robotics Courses

samzenpus posted about 6 years ago | from the now-everyone-will-know dept.

Education 247

DeviceGuru writes "Stanford University will soon begin offering a series of 10 free, online computer science and electrical engineering courses. Initial courses will provide an introduction to computer science and an introduction to field of robotics, among other topics. The courses, offered under the auspices of Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE), are nearly identical to standard courses offered to registered Stanford students and will comprise downloadable video lectures, handouts, assignments, exams, and transcripts. And get this: all the courses' materials are being released under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license."

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first post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049121)

first post

So what if you pass the courses? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049159)

You WILL have to pay the Stanford price for the degree, right, LOL! What a clever marketing scheme. Ya almost got me there. Welcome to Costco! I love you.

Hmm.... (4, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | about 6 years ago | (#25049205)

Does this mean one can now pad one's resume with "Studied at Stanford" or some such verbiage, without (much) guilt? Not an issue for me but for those newer to the field, it just might help...

Re:Hmm.... (4, Funny)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 years ago | (#25049323)

It worked for both Presidents Bush.

Re:Hmm.... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 years ago | (#25050169)

Does this mean one can now pad one's resume with "Studied at Stanford" or some such verbiage, without (much) guilt? Not an issue for me but for those newer to the field, it just might help...

You can pad your resume with whatever you like, but the second someone checks your references, you're fucked.

Personally, I'd argue that you haven't "Studied at Stanford" unless Stanford can issue a transcript with your name & the courses you've taken.

who gives a fuck if it's an open license? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049219)

that shit's for faggots and cunts.

What a load of BS (CS) (4, Funny)

bugeaterr (836984) | about 6 years ago | (#25049277)

"The Fourier Transform and its Applications" WTF!!

My employer's lawyers protect us from the liabilities of open source and I don't see the in-house tools I'm forced to use *anywhere* on Stanford's course listing!
How *exactly* are we supposed to find people with expertise in our proprietary crap if no one out there is teaching it???
Universities are soooo out of touch.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (5, Insightful)

Horar (521864) | about 6 years ago | (#25049335)

It's not the universities that are out of touch. It's your employers that are out of touch, and the multiple-choice generation of wannabe professionals who can't see past their first half-dozen paychecks. If you get the education that you appear to want, you'll be unemployable in five years.

Take it from someone who's been in the industry for 30 years and still going strong... you can't learn too much theory because theory doesn't go out of fashion the way technology fads and acronyms do.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | about 6 years ago | (#25049543)

'...because theory doesn't go out of fashion the way technology fads and acronyms do.'

I dunno; how about phlogiston, phrenology, aether, for example?

(Just kidding; I am understanding you;^)

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (0, Troll)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 6 years ago | (#25049601)

WTF?! Parent has no humor, and moderators mod him up?!

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (2, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 6 years ago | (#25049841)

It's not the universities that are out of touch. It's your employers that are out of touch, and the multiple-choice generation of wannabe professionals who can't see past their first half-dozen paychecks. If you get the education that you appear to want, you'll be unemployable in five years.

Take it from someone who's been in the industry for 30 years and still going strong... you can't learn too much theory because theory doesn't go out of fashion the way technology fads and acronyms do.

Umm.... Whoosh...Really

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (-1, Offtopic)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 years ago | (#25049919)

FFS, what kinda morons modded this autistic post "insightful"?

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | about 6 years ago | (#25049985)

It's actually scary what the average slashdotter thinks makes a competent coder. When I suggested that I spent some spare time exploring and extrapolating FizzBuzz for fun (and testing!!! my solutions), I got called incompetent because it was an "uninteresting" problem. Instant gratification, instant results seem to be the flavour of the day...leading to poor untested code resulting from poor and/or incomplete analysis. I wonder how many "uninteresting" business problems some of these jokers would code poorly and/or incompletely without testing for the sake of saying they're quick and switched on.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (0, Redundant)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#25049339)

You have to look in-house for proprietary crap. That's what proprietary means. Have fun.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | about 6 years ago | (#25049343)

Universities are soooo out of touch.

Proprietary crap is sooooooo proprietary.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (2, Informative)

temugen (1247466) | about 6 years ago | (#25049353)

You are being sarcastic, right? Most universities are out of touch and producing run-of-the-mill CS students BECAUSE they are under the impression that proprietary tools are all the students will need in the real world. Well, fortunately, the older schools like MIT realize that there is more to computing than just the top level proprietary software. Schools that teach low level languages, along with strong math, physics, and UNIX (due to the nature that it's embedded in nearly every device!) get my utmost respect.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (5, Insightful)

Duffy13 (1135411) | about 6 years ago | (#25049863)

Except that you tend to get the reverse situation also; I've met CS majors who couldn't make a simple top level user app in a relatively generic IDE.

In principle I agree with your basic assessment, the core skills should be as you listed, but by no stretch should they be the limits of what is taught in colleges. From what undergrad programs I have seen you tend to get either one or the other, with a few exceptions here and there.

I am personally a result of an undergraduate Software Engineering program that covered a portion of the CS curriculum, and to a lesser extent CE, along with just about everything else in the realm of top level programming from an SE point of view.

In my opinion, software is one of the fields that benefits from the jack of all trades route and I believe more collegiate programs should follow this model.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (2, Insightful)

RockoTDF (1042780) | about 6 years ago | (#25049875)

*cough* Java *cough*

rant: I hate Java so much. Don't waste my time with GUIs, 10 years from now swing won't frigging matter. Some of us aren't going to be software engineers dammit! MIT has been using Lisp in some form for ages, I wish every other school in the country would take a page out of their book. Even Caltech teaches Java as their main language, which is surprising. My ideal curriculum would start with a semester of Python just to get students familiar with how programming works without worrying about the intricacies of a specific language. Then after that do Lisp or C/C++. Anything but Java.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (2, Insightful)

randomc0de (928231) | about 6 years ago | (#25050231)

Lisp and Scheme are useless for learning Computer Science. There is one topic they can be used for - functional programming. This is not a useless topic, but it is not Computer Science. Data structures, compiler design, operating system design - all of these require vastly different languages than purely functional ones.

C and Java are extremely powerful, robust languages. With just them you can do OOP, functional programming (what do you think the Lisp compiler is written in...), complex data structures, essentially anything. Lisp, Scheme, Haskell, and Erlang are domain-specific languages for domain-specific tasks. They should absolutely be taught, but only in certain courses. Computer Science departments must teach concepts, and those require languages flexible enough to express different paradigms.

Finally, I apologize for actually using "paradigm" in a sentence. It's just the only word that fits.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (5, Informative)

pkaeding (1085893) | about 6 years ago | (#25050355)

I'm afraid I have to disagree. Lisp and Scheme are excellent languages for beginning computer science students. Functional languages in general are great for beginners. Mutation is a difficult thing to wrap your head around when you are starting out; functional programming is much easier when you have no other exposure to programming.

In high-school algebra, you learn that a function f(x) takes a single number as input, and returns another number. This idea of 'functions' translates perfectly to functional programming.

Functional programming also teaches kids who may have limited experience in other languages to think differently. If you are used to loops, you learn recursion. If you have never used loops, recursion makes sense as a way to simplify a complex problem.

I think that using C and Java to teach these concepts will introduce too much confusion, especially if these freshman students search Google when they get stuck with a problem. The solution on Google will be so much different that what they learned in class, and for a good reason.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (1)

randomc0de (928231) | about 6 years ago | (#25050487)

In high-school algebra, you learn that a function f(x) takes a single number as input, and returns another number. This idea of 'functions' translates perfectly to functional programming.

Except you can't say "print f(x)" in a functional language. Try explaining monads and side-effects to a freshman. C and Java can do functions just fine... they can just also do other stuff. Like OOP.

Functional programming also teaches kids who may have limited experience in other languages to think differently. If you are used to loops, you learn recursion. If you have never used loops, recursion makes sense as a way to simplify a complex problem.

You can't be "used to loops" if you've never programmed before. Also, C and Java can do recursion just fine.

This is all stuff for maybe the sophomore or junior level. Before you can learn Scheme, you need to understand why you can implement a simple interpreter in Scheme in under an hour. It took me 2 hours of planning to write a simple Haskell program for one class. It was awesome just thinking for 2 hours, typing, and having it work, but for a freshman/sophomore, having "print x" not work is, quite frankly, bullshit.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25050375)

Them dadgum newfangled languages are for the birds I tells ya. Why, back in my day, we would reach inside that computer and move those bits around by hand and we likesed it that way. Now get off my lawn!

There, fixed that for you.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (2, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | about 6 years ago | (#25050593)

My ideal curriculum would start with a semester of Python just to get students familiar with how programming works without worrying about the intricacies of a specific language.

No. Start them up with Basic - and I mean the good old line-number one, not one of these new ones with procedures. Once their programs grow beyond the point where GOTO is practical, introduce the concepts of procedures and stack; then show how these can be managed automatically by the computer in, for example, C. Then wait again for the programs grow to spaghetti stage before introducing objects, automatic memory management, etc.

If you start with a modern language like Python, the students will never really understand why it has the features it has, because they've never run into the problems those features are intended to solve.

Then after that do Lisp or C/C++. Anything but Java.

Do you have some rational basis for your hatred for Java, or is it just a matter of taste ?

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25049375)

Wow. I almost got trolled by that. Guess I should keep my finger a bit farther from the reply key.

Re:What a load of BS (CS) (2, Funny)

dmitriy88 (1096195) | about 6 years ago | (#25049509)

Guess I should keep my finger a bit farther from the reply key.

looks like you failed

I'd be pissed. (0)

supernova_hq (1014429) | about 6 years ago | (#25049311)

I'm not a Stanford student (never have been, probably never will be), but I would be PISSED if I paid good money for a course, then found out a bunch of people were taking it for free!

Not only is it a financial piss-off, but it would lower the respect you would get for having taken the course.

Re:I'd be pissed. (5, Funny)

PuritySyrup (1066910) | about 6 years ago | (#25049347)

No, no. Don't worry about it. To view the lecture video, you have to install Microsoft Silverlight. So in other words, the asking price is too high for many.

Re:I'd be pissed. (3, Informative)

goldsaturn (1220086) | about 6 years ago | (#25049477)

Nope, you can also get the video from YouTube, Itunes, Vyew (not working with Firefox 3.0), and WMV and MP4 video files that are being torrented. I feel like the bases are covered pretty well.

Re:I'd be pissed. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | about 6 years ago | (#25049957)

Vyew is working fine with 3.0.1, at least for me.

Re:I'd be pissed. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049367)

I'd say an in-class experience, including talking with an instructor, graded homework, and the recognition (towards a degree) is quite a bit of value that ISN'T included in the online version.

Their two different beasts.

Re:I'd be pissed. (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | about 6 years ago | (#25049787)

I'd say an in-class experience, including talking with an instructor, graded homework, and the recognition (towards a degree) is quite a bit of value that ISN'T included in the online version.

Their two different beasts.

Totally agreed. I see that someone learned his homonyms via an online course.

Re:I'd be pissed. (5, Funny)

FTL (112112) | about 6 years ago | (#25050219)

Their two different beasts.

Totally agreed. I see that someone learned his homonyms via an online course.

I concur. Someone learned their vocabulary via an online course. Their/There/They're are homophones (same sound). Polish/polish and read/read are homographs (same spelling). Bank/bank and stalk/stalk are homonyms (same sound and same spelling). Homonyms are both homographs and homophones.

I attended my university linguistics courses in person.

Re:I'd be pissed. (1)

gardyloo (512791) | about 6 years ago | (#25050279)

Interesting how Merriam-Webster generally agrees with you, and the OED doesn't.

Luckily, I took no linguistics courses at university.

Re:I'd be pissed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25050853)

I concur. Someone learned their vocabulary via an online course. Their/There/They're are homophones (same sound). Polish/polish and read/read are homographs (same spelling). Bank/bank and stalk/stalk are homonyms (same sound and same spelling). Homonyms are both homographs and homophones.

I attended my university linguistics courses in person.

You might consider also attending your grammar courses in person.

Someone is a singular noun. Their is a plural possessive pronoun. "Someone learned their vocabulary..." should be "Someone learned his/her vocabulary..."

Re:I'd be pissed. (1)

johanatan (1159309) | about 6 years ago | (#25050901)

<sarcasm> Maybe he's saying that the online material and actual courses are two different beasts owned by the university (though yes, that's not a complete sentence).</sarcasm>

Re:I'd be pissed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25050181)

In my college experience, homework itself is generally not graded, not to mention that talking with professors is not a given part of the class, only if you are motivated enough to go to office hours. Many don't.

Just Sayin.

Re:I'd be pissed. (4, Informative)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#25049371)

RTFA! The freeloaders don't get Stanford credit for the free courses.

Re:I'd be pissed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25050179)

Wait, so university is about credits and not about *learning*!?

Re:I'd be pissed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049377)

Then just show them your bling.

Re:I'd be pissed. (2, Funny)

temugen (1247466) | about 6 years ago | (#25049383)

You mean you're not required to have a relative who attended Stanford in order to watch the lectures?

Re:I'd be pissed. (2, Interesting)

knewter (62953) | about 6 years ago | (#25049453)

I just can't imagine why you'd be pissed. People taking a course for free obv. don't have access to the professors (80% of the value of college). Been through college yet? A weekend of talking over particularly complex math with a professor >> a year of watching online videos. And this is coming from a guy who LOVES MIT's open courseware.

At any rate, sunk costs shouldn't affect decisions. You paid the money and got the education (hypothetically), so sound economic theory suggests you shouldn't care shit about what happens after that.

Re:I'd be pissed. (3, Funny)

torstenvl (769732) | about 6 years ago | (#25049847)

Economic theory is almost always wrong when it predicts individual human behavior.

Re:I'd be pissed. (4, Interesting)

Molon Lave (797927) | about 6 years ago | (#25049463)

What's the problem? If you read it a little more thoroughly you would see that they don't give any credit with the free classes. It doesn't hurt the paying students or lower the value of the actual degrees that paying students receive. I'm severely physically disabled and was unable to finish my EE degree back in 1993 because of health reasons. I doubt I'll ever go back to school. This is a great chance for me to at least finish educating myself, degree or no degree.

Re:I'd be pissed. (1)

William-Ely (875237) | about 6 years ago | (#25049621)

It's no different than auditing a course at a local college. I think this program is similar to MIT's open course-ware. You don't get credit for taking the class.

Re:I'd be pissed. (4, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | about 6 years ago | (#25049727)

Are you kidding? When I was at Stanford (a ways back now) most of the intro class lectures were big enough that non-students could easily sit in on any lectures if they wanted (and I would recognize several who did repeatedly - some of whom were clearly not "all there"). I bet you could even turn in the homework and take tests in many cases... and occasionally they'd probably be oblivious enough to grade it and give it back.

I looked at the courses, and (scarily?) I recognize a few of the profs/lectures from over 15 years ago - they definitely picked some of the best for this program (the CS106A lecturer was my CS106A TA back then, but he was a fantastic TA ;)

Anyway, as a former undergrad, I hope people do use this resource! The more quality education/teachers available to anyone who wants it the better.

Re:I'd be pissed. (1)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | about 6 years ago | (#25049761)

Aside from all the other excellent points cited in this thread, I think everyone should understand that the idea of university is not to make you smarter than other people, but rather to obtain a piece of paper which says as much.

Re:I'd be pissed. (3, Insightful)

Metasquares (555685) | about 6 years ago | (#25050363)

Very much like life, there is a default purpose and a self-determined purpose to a university experience.

Going to a university solely for the degree is like living solely for the purpose of having kids: you'd fulfill the purpose the system set out for you, but you'd miss out on any chance at developing and expressing your own goals.

Re:I'd be pissed. (4, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 years ago | (#25049961)

Kid, we don't pay the fortune for fancy college's teaching materials, we pay the fortune for their paper with their stamp on it. Welcome to the real life.

Re:I'd be pissed. (2, Insightful)

TerranFury (726743) | about 6 years ago | (#25050811)

Trust me, this will in no way cheapen a Stanford degree. In fact, it will only generate more publicity for the school, and so increase its prestige (a little. It's up there to begin with.)

(IANAWSIAW = I am not affiliated with Stanford in any way.)

Worthless Credits (0, Troll)

WaHooCrazy7 (1220464) | about 6 years ago | (#25049349)

10 courses cant get you a degree, just a bunch of credits you'll probably never use. Guess I'm still stuck shelling out 16k a year to go to UB.

Re:Worthless Credits (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 years ago | (#25049427)

10 courses cant get you a degree, just a bunch of credits you'll probably never use. Guess I'm still stuck shelling out 16k a year to go to UB.

If you RTFA, you'll see that you don't receive Stanford credit for taking courses this way (even though you can access the exams).

Re:Worthless Credits (1)

WaHooCrazy7 (1220464) | about 6 years ago | (#25049459)

I post on /. its a given that I don't RTFA

OpenSource University? (5, Insightful)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 6 years ago | (#25049381)

So what is better? Something free that everyone has access to or something that only the rich and privileged can attain? I would think that most \.ers would be cheering this since its akin to open source.

Re:OpenSource University? (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#25049569)

I'm cheering it. There are quite a few folks in the world that can neither attend the school, or afford it if they could attend physically. That said, they would love to have Stanford class material to learn from as part of their hobby ambitions. Hobbyists notoriously have a zero dollar budget and a zest for learning stuff. Even if it seems unlikely that you'd see Starbucks' employees logging on for a lecture during their lunch break, it's possible.

Anything that educational institutes can do to generally raise the engineering awareness and savvy of the population is fulfilling their mission in a broad sense. I'm fully going to do these courses. I have more time than spare coin at the moment, and Stanford level courses are appreciated. Even if I got credit for them it would not affect my paycheck. What I know, and what I have accomplished do more to shape that number than anything I might have learned in school. When you are 24 that piece of paper is very important. When you put 10+ years on that, people are far more concerned with what you have done since graduation. Adding additional studies to your resume might sound hokey, but it shows what a lot of people want to see... effort, desire, and staying in-career with your interests.

You might be a Windows system admin, but you only get to be a hero when you can also work on that new machine that the marketing guy set up and is now not working. Oh, yeah, it runs Linux. Specialists are passe' and the more you know how to deal with, the better you will deal with any one part of it. Continuing education is not a joke, and even this counts.

Not consequent. (2, Informative)

erlehmann (1045500) | about 6 years ago | (#25049629)

To view the course material, you need proprietary software or patented codecs - Silverlight ? Check. Flash ? Check. Itunes ? Check. WMV, MP4 ? Yepp.

While this is truly an interesting development, I wish they would go the consequent route like Wikipedia (well, hopefully, (X)HTML5's video element will fix that).

Re:Not consequent. (2, Interesting)

Steauengeglase (512315) | about 6 years ago | (#25050875)

Looking at the CC notice at the bottom of the page (to Share -- to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and to Remix -- to make derivative works), I don't see why you can't re-encode it in an open format and redistribute it so long as you give credit where credit is deserved.

Re:OpenSource University? (4, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | about 6 years ago | (#25049899)

So what is better? Something free that everyone has access to or something that only the rich and privileged can attain? I would think that most \.ers would be cheering this since its akin to open source.

To be fair to Stanford, it's not only the "rich and privileged" who have access to its degree programs. As of this year, Stanford no longer charges tuition [sfgate.com] for students whose family income is less than $100,000 per year. Most other "posh" American schools have similar programs -- Harvard, for example, waives tuition for families earning less than $60,000. In 2005, Yale announced that it would waive tuition for any musicians who wanted to pursue a Master's degree in music and were good enough to be accepted in the program. And so on.

Education really doesn't put up as many barriers in America as people think. It's the people who are rich who put up the barriers, whether they're going to university or not.

Re:OpenSource University? (0)

moosesocks (264553) | about 6 years ago | (#25050427)

The problem is that, if your family makes $101,000, you're fucked. That's all, of course, assuming you can get past their impossibly-high admissions standards.

Higher Ed. in the US puts up huge barriers to middle-class students. These barriers all depend on where you live (in-state tuition, etc.), what you want to study, and whether or not you have parents who are willing to pony up the cash.

Hopefully things will improve, but for now, the middle classes are absolutely getting screwed.

Re:OpenSource University? (3, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | about 6 years ago | (#25050499)

The problem is that, if your family makes $101,000, you're fucked.

No you're not, you simply have to pay more than zero but not much more.

That's all, of course, assuming you can get past their impossibly-high admissions standards.

It's an elite school and the requirements are far from impossible given that people get in. Just because you couldn't make it in doesn't make it impossible. There are plenty of other schools with lower requirements including state schools and so on (granted you'd amusingly enough possibly pay more at said state schools).

Re:OpenSource University? (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 6 years ago | (#25050361)

Open source is a great benefit in other ways in this case too. Because of Open CourseWear I've been able to listen to lectures and guest speeches by some influential and important people in many fields of interest to me. Its an important step because I think it can have a lasting effect and eye changing experience. I know I have and have gain great respect for some of the speakers. Having gone to a sub-par institution (!!!) I am really starting to appreciate the different class room setting and opportunities to be had at the Ivy-league schools over other institutions. Feet firm on the ground does make it financially worthwhile.

$chool (2, Insightful)

Dgawld (1251898) | about 6 years ago | (#25049465)

American Universities should be "open source", or at least 50% cheaper. Even then the average private school would still cost an average total of $80,000 USD (not including books, and the required spending money)

Re:$chool (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | about 6 years ago | (#25049597)

How are they going to fund all those babysitters?

Re:$chool (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | about 6 years ago | (#25049643)

So don't got to a private university? In state tuition shouldn't set you back more than $40,000 at least in my neck of the woods.

Re:$chool (1)

torstenvl (769732) | about 6 years ago | (#25049891)

hahahahahahahahahahahahahah
(breath)
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

my flagship state university's tuition for my degree program is close to $40,000 a YEAR

Re:$chool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25050459)

how does the cost of tuition relate directly to the quality of education? I would love to know.

MIT has many more... (5, Informative)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | about 6 years ago | (#25049489)

Good info on Stanford. In addition, don't forget that MIT has had many more courses available for a good while now:

http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/courses/courses/index.htm [mit.edu]

And many schools/universities have their material online. Try Google.

Those with thin wallets and empty pocketbooks can get a decent education as long as they have the time, the will, and with free access to a computer (via public library for example).

Re:MIT has many more... (3, Insightful)

hax0r_this (1073148) | about 6 years ago | (#25049647)

Yes, but no one goes to school for an education, they go to school for a degree. I'm not saying thats how it should be, but thats just the sad truth of this country. I can go through and learn that material, same as a student at Stanford, I could outscore them on the test, but in the end they will get the job and I will be on the street because they paid.

Re:MIT has many more... (2, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 6 years ago | (#25049825)

I don't know. If I had a choice between hiring somebody who got a 4-year BSEE the usual way, versus somebody who couldn't afford school but who instead downloaded all the lectures and book .PDFs and absorbed equivalent knowledge from those, I'd take the autodidact any day of the week. That's how you hire the next Wozniak.

Re:MIT has many more... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#25050079)

Of course you'd hire them.... For peanuts.

Re:MIT has many more... (1)

Barradrewda (1016610) | about 6 years ago | (#25050101)

Some people, me for example, thrive in situations where they are constantly tested and assessed. And I mean thrive as in retention, not just memorizing what's needed for an exam the night before. University isn't just about getting the degree, it's a chance (for me) to compare and discuss what is learned with other people under the careful tutelage of... wait, crap, I can do that on the interweb. I have wasted so much time!

Re:MIT has many more... (1)

rgo (986711) | about 6 years ago | (#25050063)

But the lectures of Stanford are in Youtube, where many OCW courses only have handouts online and not even slides of the lectures.

This is the way to go.. why? (1)

houbou (1097327) | about 6 years ago | (#25049539)

If only all the topics one could find in a school, could be available like that, it would be great. Why? because at least, one could get to try it out and if they like it, they may or not complete the online course, but then, they would register for the actual course, or go for the exams. And let's face it, obviously, the exams would not be free. I would love to be able to see more of that type of service everywhere on academic topics.

Re:This is the way to go.. why? (1)

Metasquares (555685) | about 6 years ago | (#25050455)

That seems to be the direction it's going in. The open access movement in general is still somewhat young and is hitting opposition from more entrenched closed models, however.

I think you'll see what you mentioned within the next decade or so.

I do see the point of charging for credits, however. A university has to charge for something to remain financially solvent, unless it receives very large amounts of income from other sources (such as a huge endowment).

MIT OCW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049641)

At least these are way more complete than MIT OCW.

did anyone notice the levels of the course? (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 6 years ago | (#25049691)

if taking 1xx to mean "freshman", 2xx to mean "sophomore" and 3xx to mean "junior", as is the case in most universities, then apparently the course on natural language processing is a junior level (second year) course.. wow, I really didn't know they got THAT much better of an education there.

Re:did anyone notice the levels of the course? (3, Informative)

Jophiel04 (1341463) | about 6 years ago | (#25049811)

As an actual Stanford student, I can shed some light on this. The official statement from http://www.stanford.edu/dept/registrar/bulletin/4447.htm#main [stanford.edu] is:

Stanford does not have a standard course catalog numbering system. Courses numbered from 1 through 99 are primarily for freshmen and sophomores. Courses numbered from 100 through 199 are primarily for juniors and seniors; some departments, however, offer courses numbered from 200 through 299 for juniors and seniors. Most courses numbered 200 and above are for graduate students; no graduate career course is numbered below 200, and all courses above 300 are for graduate students.

Re:did anyone notice the levels of the course? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049849)

Courses at Stanford are 1xx for undergraduates, 2xx for both undergraduate and 3xx for graduates only.
Now this is just a rough guide and most people take classes all over the spectrum.

Re:did anyone notice the levels of the course? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049975)

if taking 1xx to mean "freshman", 2xx to mean "sophomore" and 3xx to mean "junior", as is the case in most universities, then apparently the course on natural language processing is a junior level (second year) course.. wow, I really didn't know they got THAT much better of an education there.

As a Stanford student, It's typically XX is freshman, 1xx is sophomore, 2xx is junior/senior. 3xx and above are grad classes. These boundaries are all crossed a lot. I'm taking CS345A this year as a sophomore, so it's not like they mean a whole lot usually. You do get screwed in credit count for taking grad courses though...

Re:did anyone notice the levels of the course? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25050043)

At Stanford, 1xx refers to undergrad, 2xx to beginning grad/advanced undergrad, and 3xx to grad. (They go higher, but they stop meaning new things.)

Also, to respond to the "I'd be pissed" people, having open courseware-type material available doesn't hurt any of the students. You pay for the name on the diploma, not the education.

Re:did anyone notice the levels of the course? (1)

johanatan (1159309) | about 6 years ago | (#25050799)

Umm, isn't junior-level 3rd year? And, that seems entirely reasonable for an upper class-man course.

IQ bell curve (2, Insightful)

eagl (86459) | about 6 years ago | (#25049827)

As slashdotters go ape over this sort of thing, one fact should be kept in mind...

Slashdotters are largely made up of people on the far right side of the bell curve distribution of intelligence. Although our current federal government refuses to acknowledge that half of the people are "below average" and insists that everyone would benefit from a college education, the fact is that only a minority of people are actually capable of benefitting from the kind of advanced education Stanford can provide. The vast majority of people would be much better served with an education focused on practical application of the knowledge humanity has accumulated over the last couple thousand years.

How many slashdotters actually associate on a daily basis with people who would have to stretch to achieve a 100 score on an IQ test? I would submit that very few of "us" associate regularly with "them", and therefore our attitudes towards the desirable nature of higher education is heavily biased by our own capabilities. A great number of people simply can not benefit by any level of exposure to a Stanford provided higher education, no matter what the cost or ease of access.

We need to temper our response to these programs, and especially temper our response to government programs that attempt to force higher education goals onto the masses, by the realization that an awful lot of people would get a lot more out of a more practical approach to education instead of the current myth that everyone can earn an advanced degree if they were only given a fair shot. The average person couldn't graduate from Stanford no matter how fair of a shot they were given... That's why Stanford graduates are expected to rise above the average and achieve beyond the norm.

Re:IQ bell curve (0, Flamebait)

Prisoner's Dilemma (1268306) | about 6 years ago | (#25049949)

>> That's why Stanford graduates are expected to rise above the average and achieve beyond the norm.

Yea. How many average people could boast that their administration was able to take the most powerful country in the world in good financial position and reduce it to the current state of the US in just 8 years.

I certainly couldn't have done that.

Re:IQ bell curve (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#25050057)

And how do you say that one man, over the course of 8 years caused what the USA is today?

Bush didn't cause the mortgage crisis.
Bush didnt get companies to heavily finance subprime lending.
Bush didnt encourage or discourage manufacturing sector to leave the country.

Economically speaking, what is doing us in is the unspoken deal with China. Yes, Clinton did initiate it, but I believe he did in the best interests of the USA. We already had large portions of our manufacturing moving out of the country, so we needed cheaper goods to offset the lower average wages, China offered to make cheap goods (cheap in price and quality). We bought them up, and created a trade deficit. They hold our treasury bills in lien for our debt to China. If, they were to sell them on the open market... Well..

Educationally speaking, we were already in the hole. Most of Europe encourages advanced education and pays for it. Higher wages due to education equal more tax revenue. Instead, our public universities jack prices up higher and higher, in that poor and middle class cannot afford them. These are supposedly public... They sure dont serve the public like the rest of the 1'st world nations do. And there's NCLB act. Even though Bush passed that recently, we still will not know the effects of it until 10-15 years. Might as well call it guinea pig nation.

Structurally speaking, our roads are decrepit. We have the last remnants of a rail system that has been left in the dust for 30+ years. Our infrastructure to move things around are vehicles, and therefore petrol increases hurt everybody. We have no real public transportation, even in big cities. There is no transportation between cities. Our broadband and high speed interconnects are taken over by monopolies who wish nothing but to extract every cent without providing improvements.

And even recently, we're seeing mergers in the financial market.In other words, companies are going bankrupt and they're merging to stave off future bankruptcies. I would make the unasserted claim that our country runs off of credit. If credit somehow becomes very scarce, our country will slow. Also, if we lose any more jobs, our country will falter.

What country would want to come to a place with 3'rd world education, 3'rd world infrastructure, and a failing economics system?

Re:IQ bell curve (4, Insightful)

daemonburrito (1026186) | about 6 years ago | (#25050115)

We need to temper our response to these programs [...]

Why?

What a strange response. I've read your comment three times now, and I still don't get it. That is, I don't get it because I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt; it seems like you're advocating for long-dead Social Darwinist tripe. But that couldn't possibly be the case, as you are one of those on the "right" side of the curve, right?

You act as if this is your Harrison Bergeron fantasy (in which you are the protagonist, of course). This isn't the government forcing Stanford to admit cretins! It's just a school sharing part of their curricula on the web.

If "you" are a member of "us", count me as a member of "them".

Yay Stanford. Using the web to its potential for making civilization a little better for all of us. What's not to like? And what would we possibly have to gain by preventing people from learning?

Re:IQ bell curve (5, Insightful)

eagl (86459) | about 6 years ago | (#25050441)

Simply by replying, and specifically by your spelling, you are NOT "them". You can benefit by a higher education that focuses not only on the practical application of our knowledge base that would be applicable in earning a respectable living doing a productive job (ie. a tech school), but on an education that uses theoretical considerations to go beyond simple application, towards synthesis that leads to new applications, new knowledge.

A simple example is the requirement that algebra must be passed in order to get a high school diploma... I would argue that for a fairly significant portion of our society, passing an application-focused class such as auto shop is much more valuable and pertinent to graduating from high school than passing an algebra test. I grew up with a number of people who can't possibly grasp algebra, but who benefited greatly from various "tech school" high school courses, got their high school diplomas, and got decent jobs right out of school. They would have been very poorly abused by any system that required them to pass algebra to get their diploma, and they never would have graduated if the school system in place at the time had cut shop class in order to attempt to force these below average students to pass college-prep courses. They were much better served by being offered application-level courses that taught them practical skills that led directly to productive jobs.

One friend of mine was particularly affected by the current philosophy that no student is "below average", and that all students deserve a college education. He got all the opportunities anyone could imagine including a free ride to a good university based on an intercollegiate athletic scholarship, and he was completely unsuited for the academic challenge. When he failed out of college, he found himself unsuited for any job other than fast-food shift supervisor because his high school refused to recognize that he was "below average", and refused to tailor his education towards something he could have actually used. He ended up with few practical skills since they forced him into math courses that he barely passed instead of letting him take skills-application courses, and was unable to get a job that paid well enough to support himself.

That's what I'm talking about when I say as slashdotters we should temper our response to these education opportunities. They are not the answer to all our problems, because the vast majority of people in the US are incapable of benefitting from the and trying to tailor high school education to force the no-shit 50% of students who are "below average" to go to college, is a gross injustice. We need to recognize that an awful lot of people have absolutely no use for a Stanford level of education, and ensure that rather than trying to force them into a particular college-prep track that they are not prepared or capable of following, we should provide application-level educational opportunities that lead to jobs, not a future involving washing out of college and ending up on the street with a bruised ego and no practical education that they'll find useful in finding a job they can handle.

Re:IQ bell curve (1)

johanatan (1159309) | about 6 years ago | (#25050843)

I agree completely with your two posts. If these systems were more widely in place, I think that not only the below average students would benefit, but so would the above average ones (by not having to wade through slow paced material).

Re:IQ bell curve (4, Funny)

goatherder23 (1189859) | about 6 years ago | (#25050207)

Slashdotters are largely made up of people on the far right side of the bell curve distribution of intelligence.

Have you actually read any of the comments on slashdot?

Re:IQ bell curve (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 6 years ago | (#25050257)

The vast majority of people would be much better served with an education focused on practical application of the knowledge humanity has accumulated over the last couple thousand years.

Er, you mean like a bachelor's degree? Or are you seriously implying that everyone who graduates from four years at Stanford goes directly to independent research on some "impractical" topic?

Re:IQ bell curve (2, Insightful)

eagl (86459) | about 6 years ago | (#25050555)

I'm saying that an awful lot of people will not benefit from being forced into an educational track that leads to a bachelors degree, when they are not capable of achieving at that level. We must recognize that 50% of students are below average, and the education we offer them must be applicable to their future, not some fairy-tale future where everyone can pass differential equations and get a degree in aero engineering if they only had a fair chance. Guess what - even really smart people fail out of engineering degrees, and it is grossly unfair to the 50% "below average" people to force them into college prep courses.

Our enthusiasm for the ability to audit Stanford courses for free is understandable, but we really should temper our response with the realization that there are a ton of people failing high school algebra right now that would benefit a lot more by being offered some technical courses that lead to jobs instead of online engineering or comp sci courses they can't possibly understand.

I'm trying to not point fingers here, but the "no child left behind" program explicitly ignores the fact that not all students are equally capable, and that 50% of students are below average. These kids need to be offered programs that give them the education they need to succeed in LIFE, not an education they can't understand in order to prepare them for a college education they can't possibly graduate or benefit from.

Those who go to Stanford with a reasonable expectation to graduate have already far surpassed the cut line - they are far on the right side of the bell curve, and it's very tough to imagine living life on the other side of the curve, let alone imagine what sort of education those people would benefit from. They need knowledge that leads to a JOB, not college prep courses or free Stanford engineering courses.

Re:IQ bell curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25050489)

There were probably people saying the same thing about high school diplomas 150 years ago.

Re:IQ bell curve (3, Interesting)

mdfst13 (664665) | about 6 years ago | (#25050551)

The reason why slashdotters go ape over this is that we might actually take a Stanford online course on robotics. That's why it's news for nerds. It's also worth noting that /. is probably heavy on Intuitive Thinkers [look.net] , the kind of people who are good at math and not interested in teaching. As such, it is often hard for us to find good real world teachers (teachers tend to be Empiricals [look.net] rather than Intuitives). Replacing teacher and book courses with online courses makes sense for us, since teachers are scarce in our subjects and we are online friendly.

Now, if you want to talk about how we could change the educational system to be more supportive of people who aren't going to go to college, let's start with making it easier to leave school earlier. The typical schooling in the US is 12 years of 180 days each. Move that around a bit, and you can get the same 2160 days in ten years of 216 days each. No more summer vacation to work the farm (and forget what was learned last year), but still about five weeks of vacation (which could be spread around the year in addition to the current four weeks of holidays).

For those who aren't going on to college, offer better apprenticeship programs. Companies will need to provide this, but the government can help with tax incentives and some adjustments to labor laws.

Re:IQ bell curve (0)

eagl (86459) | about 6 years ago | (#25050617)

To be honest, I plan on taking advantage of some of the computer courses at some point in the future. I got a bachelors degree in comp sci, but my career has taken an entirely different course so I'll need quite a bit of remedial education if I ever want to get back in the computer biz in any serious way. Still, I found myself wondering how my "below average" high school buddy would benefit from these courses, and the answer was not at all. He really could have used a course or two on various other subjects that would have led to jobs. Practical math, wood or metal working, auto shop, etc. would all have helped him out. As it worked out, he ended up as an insurance salesman, which is I suppose a fitting job for some guy who never learned in high school what he really needed to know.

Re:IQ bell curve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25050567)

How many slashdotters actually associate on a daily basis with people who would have to stretch to achieve a 100 score on an IQ test?

I work with plenty of them for all of us.

Re:IQ bell curve (2, Funny)

Rayban (13436) | about 6 years ago | (#25050745)

The solution is obvious: we need to work hard to increase the number of students above average!

Viewing a lecture requires installing Silverlight (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25049887)

I just tried to bring up a lecture video and it asked me to install Silverlight.

Re:Viewing a lecture requires installing Silverlig (0, Redundant)

DiegoBravo (324012) | about 6 years ago | (#25050447)

Yes, Firefox+Linux is not supported.

From the Silverlight installation page:

Compatible Operating Systems and Browsers

Operating System        WinIE7  WinIE6     FF 1.5  FF 2   Safari
Windows Vista           Yes      -      Yes     Yes      -
Windows XP SP2          Yes     Yes     Yes     Yes      -
Windows 2000              -     Yes     No      No       -
Win Server 2003 (ex IA-64)Yes   Yes     Yes     Yes      -
Mac OS 10.4.8 (PowerPC)   -     -       Yes    Yes      Yes
Mac OS 10.4.8 (Intel-based)-    -       Yes    Yes    Yes

Re:Viewing a lecture requires installing Silverlig (1)

TerranFury (726743) | about 6 years ago | (#25050777)

Stanford offers many, many more formats than just Silverlight; e.g., MP4 torrents (which you can certainly play in Linux!). See my previous post [slashdot.org] , or TFA.

Re:Viewing a lecture requires installing Silverlig (4, Informative)

TerranFury (726743) | about 6 years ago | (#25050763)

Just a few lines lower on any page, there are links to view the same video in other formats including,

1. Youtube

2. iTunes

3. Vyew

4. WMV Torrent

5. MP4 Torrent

for instance, this [stanford.edu] MP4 torrent available from this [stanford.edu] page.

What is missing? (1)

v4vijayakumar (925568) | about 6 years ago | (#25050225)

an affordable e-reader.

Cause it's not like CA has a budget crisis... (0, Troll)

Windows Breaker G4 (939734) | about 6 years ago | (#25050319)

... or anything right? Honestly i support this but when the govenor is sueing your comptroller to make it so state workers get paid minimum wage, i don't know, just seems like the timing might be just a tad off. But that's just me
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