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Stanford AI Class 'Beta' For Commercial Launch?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the monetizing-disaggregatiion dept.

AI 66

First time accepted submitter Lyrdor writes "The Terms of Service for the Stanford Artificial Intelligence class points to how the free class this fall will be used for 'developing and evaluating the Online Course prior any commercial release of the Course' by a startup called KnowLabs. Although all of the press accounts so far have pointed to how the course would be a new example of Open Educational Resources from Stanford, the terms of service point to something else going on. On the LinkedIn page of David Stavens, Co-Founder and CEO at Know Labs, the startup is described on his profile as an 'angel funded startup to re-envision and revolutionize education using the social web and mobile apps. We launched www.ai-class.com and attracted over 130,000 students in 190+ countries.'"

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66 comments

I'm just telling you (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37315848)

I don't want to be the grader that receives 130,000 lab assignments.

Re:I'm just telling you (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316188)

One of the assignments is to make a program to grade assignments for the class. Your grade is the average that everyone's programs gives yours.

Re:I'm just telling you (0)

logjon (1411219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316430)

int grade(project) { return 0; }

Re:I'm just telling you (0)

logjon (1411219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316516)

dammit.
int grade(std::string project) {return 0;}

Re:I'm just telling you (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316778)

Well, assuming a typedef or an user-defined type project, your first code was completely correct. Since you don't access the project, you don't need to give it a name.

Of course that's assuming 0 is a valid grade.

Re:I'm just telling you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37319458)

There are no submitted programming assignments; all assessment is done by computerized marking immediately after the assignment, mid-term examination, or final examination is completed by the student. For those opting to avoid any assessment there is a basic track rather than the advanced track. I am enrolled in this AI course with Stanford University School of Engineering. A nice resume entry in addition to the knowledge gained from the course.

TANSTAAFL (1)

concealment (2447304) | more than 2 years ago | (#37315860)

We're seeing education become like television, advertising-funded.

While this is sort of crass, it might mean lower student loans.

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316080)

In the US of A, commercials are the solution for everything. You don't see a problem with this at all, do you?

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316418)

In the US of A, commercials are the solution for everything. You don't see a problem with this at all, do you?

No siree, I ain't no stinkin' pinko red commie!!

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316132)

It might also make student participation this class more valuable and citable in the real world.

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317782)

Where does the money for advertising come from? Did a bank create it out of thin air, then say "TANSTAAFL!" if govt tries to create it?

I doubt it... (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37315920)

I don't think it's just a cynical stealth-focus group; I think they actually intend to lower to barriers and cost of education in the long run.

Then again, what with schools like Stanford raising money ten times faster than even the best public schools and supporting less than half as many students on that cushion of raw cash I like to imagine that they're somehow more philanthropic. To keep me from sending letter bombs.

Re:I doubt it... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316034)

If they lower the cost OR improve the quality, it's a win for everyone. I'd prefer they improve the quality, but I'm not really in a position to be picky.

Waiting to see how this turns out. (2)

knuthin (2255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#37315966)

Peter Norvig? That's enough of a reason to join the course.
Though I am not sure how involved he will be in a student when there are 100,000 enrolled in one class.

Re:Waiting to see how this turns out. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316096)

It'll probably be pretty much the same way anyone with a seven digit UID gets treated on Slashdot.

Sorry to break the bad news to you.

Re:Waiting to see how this turns out. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316550)

It'll probably be pretty much the same way anyone with a seven digit UID gets treated on Slashdot.

Sorry to break the bad news to you.

At least he won't have it as rough as the six digit UID ers.

Re:Waiting to see how this turns out. (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37319640)

Well most probably direct involvement with the virtual students (I understand that class will also have some physical ones) will be 0. But this is not the point of the course, is it? They want to test if they can effectively create and maintain a distributed teaching environment and measure the differences in the quality of knowledge obtained. Most of the people who enroll might not be fully aware of that but you will be a product, as well as a student, in this course.

Wouldn't stop me from enrolling had I had the luxury of time. Hell, if they crack it maybe one day we actually will live in a world where education is available to everyone.

buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37315970)

Can someone please translate what they intend to do into English?

Re:buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316022)

From what I understood, next time they do something like that it'd be paid for. People who applied now are the guinea pigs.

Re:buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316416)

From what I understood, next time they do something like that it'd be paid for. People who applied now are the guinea pigs.

Or, to put a teeny bit of spin on it, they're doing it for free this time around, and if it works well, they're going to see if they can make money doing it.

TOS doesn't say I have to sell my soul or anything, so I'm game.

Re:buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316044)

Automate the hell out of it so they can have 130,000 students paying tuition (eventually) for a class taught by one (or a few) faculty. Of course, automated grading does not give very meaningful feedback, but maybe if they had some really great AI doing it. Hmm...maybe that could be the class project? Quick, somebody call Ray Kurzweil!

Re:buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316286)

Of course, automated grading does not give very meaningful feedback, but maybe if they had some really great AI doing it.

For grade inflation reasons, everyone already gets an "A".

A 3.5ish GPA in 1990 means top quartile. A 3.5ish GPA in 2010 means bottom quartile, does it not? If not "quartile", at least "third" correct?

Might be more useful to automate and computerize and digitally sign a system of using class projects as a kind of portfolio. The class moron adds a "hello world" program that doesn't even compile without errors to his portfolio. The class genius adds a "reasonably full featured mini operating system" to his portfolio. Both, of course, get an "A".

Re:buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316898)

It depends on the courses, and the curving system.

At my undergrad institution (USNA), the GPA distribution of the graduating class was essentially a normal curve centered at 3.0 (2.0 being the minimum to graduate, 4.0 the highest possible), with a small local maxima at 4.0 to account for the few students who put in the effort to maintain a perfect GPA.

When I did my masters at Stanford the distribution was a little different, but that was because you needed to maintain a 3.25 in your specialty to get your masters, and a 3.5 to move on a phd. That's not to say the courses were easy. Trust me, getting an A in "Elementary Plasma Physics" was no small accomplishment. Yes, maybe the class averaged a 3.35, but the 10 people in that class were some of the smartest people I've ever met...

Re:buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37318482)

By feedback, I don't mean an accurate assessment of the quality of the work (which is also [ideally] a function of grading). I mean specific feedback like I write on my upper-division students' papers, e.g. "you were doing well up to this point, but then you made which gave you . Here's an example of why is not valid." This is the kind of feedback my lower-division students, whose homework is submitted and graded online, do not receive, and which I assume 130,000 AI students will likewise not receive.

Re:buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37318520)

Crap, should've read the preview, and/or not used angle brackets. Above post should read:

By feedback, I don't mean an accurate assessment of the quality of the work (which is also [ideally] a function of grading). I mean specific feedback like I write on my upper-division students' papers, e.g. "you were doing well up to this point, but then you made [wrong assumption] which gave you [bad result]. Here's an example of why [wrong assumption] is not valid." This is the kind of feedback my lower-division students, whose homework is submitted and graded online, do not receive, and which I assume 130,000 AI students will likewise not receive.

Re:buzzword buzzword filtersucks buzzword buzzword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37318884)

Can someone please translate what they intend to do into English?

Make money. I hope that's straightforward enough for you.

Education Inflation Unsustainable (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316010)

"Good," I say. Bringing education online will reduce the costs and increase the availability. Of course there will still be costs associated, Stanford shouldn't expect to offer these for free, but the current rate of cost increase [inflationdata.com] is unsustainable. So, perhaps this will align interests better.

I realize that chart compares the rise to CPI-U, which is rigged [shadowstats.com] for political convenience, but even still the cost rises are too much to continue unabated for decades to come. There will be downstream consequences for the economy to having millions of college graduates starting life under a heavy debt burden. When the 18-35 year old demographic no longer has much disposable income, many changes will have to occur. Instead of buying new washers and dryers for that new house, they'll be paying interest to bankers. Some people don't even know that the student load industry was recently nationalized to hasten this transition.

My daughter has 10 more years until College and I really doubt a traditional live-away 4-year program will be the prevailing model by then. People tell me that's too soon until I point out that we just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first web browser. 10 years ago, lots of people thought AOL on dialup was pretty neat, then we throw in Moore's Law for the next ten years, along with those slopes, and I think it's more likely we'll see online education with live-away intervals for labs and such.

Re:Education Inflation Unsustainable (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316700)

My daughter has 10 more years until College ... People tell me that's too soon until I point out ...

I started at an on/offline college in Wisconsin before your daughter was born and graduated when your daughter was 2, so I'm guessing when she hits 18 the technology might finally be ready for her to replicate my accomplishment.

It was on/offline in that I could sign up for a class held at any site (they had at least 2 within a short drive) or online. I happened to sign up for all online, although if I wanted I could have gone to the campus 10 minutes from my home for at least some classes, whichever might have been offered at that time. I did have to drive to a school site for proctored midterms and finals.

I even graduated "online" so to speak, as I was out of state that weekend. Also I hate ceremonies.

Two small business growth opportunities : Franchised cheap proctored exams (not the $250 fee cisco tests) complete with notary service. Franchised cheap semi-supervised labs for electronics / physics / chem / bio students.

This was "at" lakeland college in Wisconsin. I have no idea if anything has changed in the past 6 or 7 years.

Re:Education Inflation Unsustainable (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317296)

I'm guessing when she hits 18 the technology might finally be ready for her to replicate my accomplishment.

Surely you recognize that people still go to on-campus programs because they have advantages over online programs, right?

I don't mean to diminish your degree, but the intent of my message was to convey the idea that the gap will have closed in the next decade enough that the online degree is the preferential mode of the College student.

Re:Education Inflation Unsustainable (2)

exploder (196936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37318558)

Not likely. You can improve the in-"class" experience, but it's the outside-class socializing and BSing with like-minded people that makes the on-campus experience so much richer. What gap do you predict will have closed in 10 years so that this is no longer true?

Re:Education Inflation Unsustainable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37318996)

Facebook and Second life will have merged. Or alternatively, one of the two will have replicated the other's functionality.

Re:Education Inflation Unsustainable (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37321268)

What gap do you predict will have closed in 10 years so that this is no longer true?

Ubiquitous access to high-speed Internet is the most important one (it's still 65% in my area, census area size 225,000). Telepresense really has a long way to go as well. Skype is OK, but we need more resolution, better optics, better compression (and hardware acceleration) better immersive experience, more echo cancellation and acoustic modeling, head/eye tracking, plus rapid document sharing and better human input devices for mark-up.

That's just I/O. Then there's courseware systems, scheduling systems, IT, etc.

Re:Education Inflation Unsustainable (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 2 years ago | (#37322664)

Do you think we'll have enough of that stuff in 10 years that it'll be natural and productive to "hang out" with your virtual cohort the same way traditional on-campus cohorts do today? Personally I think 10 years is very optimistic.

Re:Education Inflation Unsustainable (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37323126)

No, I think the College learning experience will drift away from the young-people-leaving-the-nest experience. They've been combined for matters of technology and geography, but the two don't really need to be coupled.

Learn at home until 21 or so, then go away for 'labs' for a year, maybe live in a young-people's community for a few years after that.

Happy to Beta Test (2)

Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316014)

I completed my enrollment the other day and am extremely psyched to have the opportunity to participate. Opted for the 'Basic' track as I don't have the time/energy for the whole enchilada. If they want to use my feedback to help develop a monetized version, that's fine with me; I get to learn cool stuff from smart people, and the provider of the service gets to improve their product.

Re:Happy to Beta Test (1)

DaveInAustin (549058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316158)

I'm happy to beta-test too, but I wonder how the folks who are paying Stanford tuition feel about it.

Re:Happy to Beta Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316314)

Stanford students are paying for the ability to rub shoulders with people who can advance their career. They are also paying for the Stanford brand. those of us who are auditing the class will get neither. That is fine with me, as I am doing quite well as a near-40 year old and don't need the above two items.

Re:Happy to Beta Test (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316432)

You won't get a credit and you can't directly participate in class. I am sure those paying Stanford tuition won't have a problem.
And I won't even go into the other benefits of being part of a good academic environment.
If you think about it, you could probably learn the things that a university teaches by getting the textbooks and studying. So by the same logic everyone who pays for school is stupid.

Re:Happy to Beta Test (1)

Rik Rohl (1399705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37322130)

That's pretty much what's happening here, but rather than buying a textbook, you're getting a series of video lectures and course notes for free
I signed up for the full course, mainly because having homework and assignments due will force me to stay on a study timeline, and eliminate the "fuck it, can't be bothered tonight" factor that usually happens to me when trying to learn stuff out of a textbook on my own time.

Re:Happy to Beta Test (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316444)

I'm happy to beta-test too, but I wonder how the folks who are paying Stanford tuition feel about it.

They likely don't care - this class doesn't count for credit, so it's only useful for the curious and for continuing education.

Re:Happy to Beta Test (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#37320786)

If they want to use my feedback to help develop a monetized version, that's fine with me; I get to learn cool stuff from smart people, and the provider of the service gets to improve their product.

Sure. But why didn't the just say it in the first place? Maybe they expected that some people wouldn't have been as happy as you. Or maybe not, but it would still have been the polite thing to do. I'm not on the course (I did two years of AI at university anyway), but I assumed that the results would be used within Stanord. The idea of an "angel-funded startup" - well, it's generating funds for private investors, when people thought they were donating their time to a university....

Re:Happy to Beta Test (1)

williamhb (758070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325050)

I completed my enrollment the other day and am extremely psyched to have the opportunity to participate. Opted for the 'Basic' track as I don't have the time/energy for the whole enchilada. If they want to use my feedback to help develop a monetized version, that's fine with me; I get to learn cool stuff from smart people, and the provider of the service gets to improve their product.

Personally, I'm kinda tempted to use their course to beta test my own software [blogspot.com] ... I've been teaching a course this semester with a social semantic learning platform I originally came up with during my PhD. But it'd be interesting to go from 80+ of my own students using it for a course (there was an educational reason we needed it -- I didn't just foist it on the course for my own benefit) to seeing whether it also works for study groups on someone else's 80,000+ student course. (We're using a local server -- the public demo link on the blog is down at the mo but I'll put it back up in the next few days)

It looks a little like KnowIt are betting on the idea that if Stanford could offer 80,000 students a course why would you go to your local lesser-known uni. But a class of 80,00 is rather different from a class of 80. Universities have never differentiated themselves by having the best content -- they're more than happy to use someone else's textbook. So I still prefer my model at the mo -- where smaller classes intelligently share content, and where it's made simple for teachers to turn their existing materials into social semantic content, rather than need special interactive videos.

But we'll see. It's going to be fun.

He should have added..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316036)

Adding this number of students would have been impossible without Slashdot.

Government Research Grant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316098)

All government research grant recipients need to do a course material for online courses in their own area. Government will always have up-to-date course ware for the public who are willing to spend time to learn.

Bogus Story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316236)

According to Google, there doesn't seem to be an Albert Class at Stanford.

I'm glad somebody else noticed this (1)

Windrip (303053) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316346)

1. Interesting that /. is making such a big deal of recognizing 1st time contributors. It's an "interesting" editorial policy.

2. I, too, wondered whether or not to complete the enrollment process. We never:
o had a realistic opportunity to interact with the instructor(s). I know that a certain set of questions will be answered, but what are the odds /my/ question will be answered? Apparently about 1 in 100K;
o never had an opportunity to get feedback to quizzes/exams;
o Maybe I missed it, in the initial furor, but the lectures will now be delivered 2 wks, after the live class.

The "bloom is off the rose", but it will provide a interesting excuse for ignoring my other tasks in the next few months.

Does anyone here doubt Acacia is assessing its patient portfolio in light of this now becoming a startup?

Re:I'm glad somebody else noticed this (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316598)

1)" Interesting that /. is making such a big deal of recognizing 1st time contributors. It's an "interesting" editorial policy."

I've noticed that. I guess they're trying to make up for when it seemed like it was always the say people getting their stories posted. I hope it stops soon (not the more people getting their subs posted, but the hornblowing over it).

2) "what are the odds /my/ question will be answered"

Seeing whose running the course + what it's about, I would expect the probability of your question being answered is quite high - except that your question will be being answered by an AI.

"Does anyone here doubt Acacia is assessing its patient portfolio in light of this now becoming a startup?"

Who?

Re:I'm glad somebody else noticed this (1)

Jerslan (1088525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37320042)

"Does anyone here doubt Acacia is assessing its patient portfolio in light of this now becoming a startup?"

Who?

That was my thought too. I recognized the name, but the closest I can find to anything related to this topic is Acacia Social Fraternity [wikipedia.org] . Maybe I'm just ignorant or missing something, but I fail to see why/how they would *have* patents relating to this; much less be able to defend such patents.

typical /. headline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316462)

Check out the company's site, they provide the software for actually doing the class. If Stanford repeats this next year, you may need to pay for a license to the software, but this says nothing more about the actual class's openness than using MyCourses does.
also, sensationalism much?

Computer AI (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316620)

phht... might as well get a degree in Latin, least its fucking useful

Re:Computer AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316840)

least its fucking useful

Games, machine vision, home appliances, customer service, waste management, food production, security, war, peace, Dostoyevsky, sex toys..

Re:Computer AI (-1, Flamebait)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316974)

games are entertainment and the AI your thinking of is a if else + follow path, a 8 year old could do it, and reguarly do (though maybe not perfect)

home appliances? pleas explain my home appliances dont do anything else except use a timer

customer service? Oh that shitty recordobox that you have to yell at 6 times in a row becuase it cant understand the option it just fuking gave you. Thats not AI thats voice phenomenology, its not figuring out what you said, its looking at a recorded waveform and comparing it to a stock file, another if else programming 101 trick

waste management, food production? fuck off trollboy you just went off the stupid meter

Re:Computer AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317172)

phht... might as well get a degree in Latin, least its fucking useful

You say that as your job is going to be done by a machine.

I still want to know if you have to buy the book (2)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316854)

to be effecient in the class or is the book only required for the course there at Stanford. For just a cert i dont see many people signing up to buy a $100 book that they will only use a few pages of and possibly never use ever again.

Re:I still want to know if you have to buy the boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37318590)

According to the FAQ, you don't need to buy the book, the course is self-contained. If you want to read the book it's on avax.

Re:I still want to know if you have to buy the boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37323262)

If you do a little googling you'll find that the book is not mandatory.

Re:I still want to know if you have to buy the boo (1)

Scott Scott (1531645) | more than 2 years ago | (#37329028)

Like 90% percent of college courses?

Even if it weren't optional, a single $100 book is tame compared to most courses I've taken.

A loss for distance ed as a whole (1)

spopepro (1302967) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316938)

I'm participating in the full course online, and am excited to do so. A large part of my motivation is for learning about the challenges that the instructors face, and their design solutions to meet their goals. I emailed Dr. Thrun asking if I could ask some questions, or if there were plans to present their experiences at the end. The response, as I expected for a very, very busy professor, was that they will probably report our generally at the end. Which I'm totally cool with. However, this seems like maybe more information is going to Know Labs to create a product, rather than to the world to create better distance education opportunities (which, I would argue, is more valuable than teaching the world about AI). Still not the worst thing in the world, and I'm not complaining about getting the chance to learn what I can, but private money in education rarely turns out for the better.

Something's fishy? (1)

Jerslan (1088525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317192)

Based on what I can tell, KnowLabs is very much played-down on the ai-class.com website and Stanford's role is played up. It looks like the start-up is looking to act as a contractor to Universities to help them setup, run, and possibly maintain better, more useable, more scalable online education services. Keep in mind that the free AI Class gives you no real credit, it's just there if you're interested in the subject and want to learn a bit more before taking the plunge (back) into academia.

Personally, I applaud what they're doing. Maybe they can help unseat Blackboard and other god-awful "Online Education Tools".

To nay-sayers who think this kind free offering dilutes the "value" of their education when they pay for an equivalent class... You get degree and/or continuing education credits, the people taking a free class like this one do not. They get nothing but some extra knowledge. For someone like me, who is considering a Masters in CS, these classes are a great way to get my feet wet and figure out what I want to focus on.

Re:Something's fishy? (1)

Archwyrm (670653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37321176)

Maybe they can help unseat Blackboard

Ugh, don't get me started on that digital turd. Just about anyone could half-ass something better.

Re:Something's fishy? (1)

Jerslan (1088525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37321430)

Agreed, but it is firmly entrenched as "THE" tool of choice for most schools. Yes, I know that makes no sense, but they probably marketed heavily to School District Superintendents and University Presidents/Chancellors. They're the ones who ultimately make the decisions.

Stanford throwing their name behind the startup and making use of it will actually make a good selling point. "Hey, Stanford's doing this? It must be awesome!" Not a great selling point from a technical perspective, but good technical selling points rarely make good marketing selling points when you're dealing with most high-level upper managers.

Re:Something's fishy? (1)

Finite9 (757961) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325072)

- "Personally, I applaud what they're doing. Maybe they can help unseat Blackboard and other god-awful "Online Education Tools". "

Me too, but before you throw pie at online education tools, check out khanacademy.org.

After registering for the ai-class, and having read the prereqs, I realised i'd have to brush up on my maths. They have Linear Algebra as a prereq, and i've never done it. So I read the slashdot article on the release of ai-class and someone mentioned khanacademy. I think it's a brilliant tool/venture and i'm learning a lot from it. I wish I had it when I was in school!

I only took the basic class because linear algebra is not to be joked away, and they also mentioned some programming, which I don't know, so I felt that I would be way too optimistic to take the full course with assignments.

What's the issue? (1)

sgunhouse (1050564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317380)

It's listed as a free course, yes?

The startup is listed as "angel-funded", yes? That implies the online version of the course will also be free. (And doesn't fit the description of "commercial" in my book.)

Other than the misleading title, I don't see any issue here.

Re:What's the issue? (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#37320832)

"Angels" aren't pro-bono investors, they're silent investors. They give you money, and they ask for money back.

Stanford University is a venture capital firm (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317844)

Back in 1991, Stanford University spun off the management of their endowment into the Stanford Management Company [stanford.edu] . At first they were into classic passive investments, like most university endowments. But they've gone beyond that. They invest in venture capital companies. They're located out on Sand Hill Road, where all the Silicon Valley venture capitalists have offices. Executives have moved between the Stanford Management Company and venture capital firms for years. The ties to that community are very close.

This has worked out very well. Stanford tends to take an equity stake in companies spun out of Stanford. Stanford owns part of Cisco, part of Yahoo, and part of Google. It's getting to the point that Stanford University is becoming a VC firm that runs an educational operation on the side as a tax break.

So a deal to run educational operations through a VC firm is perfectly normal for Stanford.

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