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Can Anyone Catch Khan Academy?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan dept.

Education 190

waderoush writes "Even as name-brand universities like MIT and Harvard rush to put more courses on the Web, they're vying with an explosion of new online learning resources like Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, Dabble, Skillshare, and, of course, Khan Academy. With 3,200 videos on YouTube and 4 million unique visitors a month, Sal Khan's increasingly entertaining creation is the competitor that traditional universities need to beat if they want to have a role in inspiring the next generation of leaders and thinkers. Lately Khan's organization has been snapping up some of YouTube's most creative educational-video producers, including 'Doodling in Math Class' creator Vi Hart and Smarthistory founders Beth Harris and Steven Zucker. Universities are investing millions in software for 'massive online open courses' or MOOCs, but unless they can figure out how to make their material fun as well as instructive, Khan may have an insurmountable lead." The Chronicle of Higher Education has a related article about the above-mentioned Coursera, and how they plan to make money off of free courses. A contract the company signed with the University of Michigan suggests they aren't quite sure yet.

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Obligatory (5, Funny)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716523)

Universities are investing millions in software for 'massive online open courses' or MOOCs, but unless they can figure out how to make their material fun as well as instructive, Khan may have an insurmountable lead.

Universities: KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!!

Re:Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716605)

Can anyone catch fr1st p0st academy? sudo mod me down prune juice drinking trolls.

Re:Obligatory (2)

Teresita (982888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716649)

Overinflated tuition surely is an epic khan.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717389)

"The people" requesting government involvement in "equalizing" education thereby causing inflated tuition which saddles the people, and their children, with debilitating debt is the most epic khan.

Re:Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716687)

At least with Khan there wasn't an issue with google nexus 7's defective screens. The left side creaks and may evens shatter because it is a millimeter above the bevel. Google really dropped the ball on that one.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717933)

At least with Khan there wasn't an issue with google nexus 7's defective screens.

Well, of course the screens weren't defective. They couldn't raise them because the Enterprise hacked their systems, remember?

Re:Obligatory (4, Funny)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718137)

Missed opportunity: Should have titled this article "Catch Me If You Khan".

Degree (5, Insightful)

AshFan (879808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716527)

How much weight does a Youtube degree carry in todays market?

Re:Degree (5, Insightful)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716639)

I'm sick of that presumption. The point of education SHOULD be to become educated. Then, you use that education to do X work better than others without that education.

Instead, we treat it like a membership card into business. I fail to understand why so many MBAs hate unions when they refuse to hire someone without an MBA, thus creating their own union.

Re:Degree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716673)

Funny that someone who is all about education doesn't see the value of educating people about grammar. A bit touchy, are we??

Re:Degree (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717021)

Being for education is different from people complaining about grammar.

Really how much would I be adding to the conversation if I replied complaining about your double use of the question mark?

Complaining about grammar in a forum, unless truly heinous, only distracts from the matters at hand.

Re:Degree (2)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717241)

Since we're sliding towards off-topic: proper, correct, clear communication holds value everywhere. Spelling errors (yes, even typos, it's not like somebody's holding a gun to your head to write as fast as possible) only distract from the matters at hand.

Re:Degree (4, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717447)

Yes, spelling and grammar errors may distract from the matters at hand, but do they distract more than those who complain about them? Also grammar and spelling correctors tend to be very rude about it.

It's not like people are asking "Did you mean this or that? I can't tell from your post.". It is people saying "Hey, you dumbshit, you made a minor mistake in your post. I still understood what you meant, but you are dumb for making that mistake."

Re:Degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717047)

Why did you add a second question mark you retarded fuckhead?

Re:Degree (0, Troll)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716953)

I fail to understand why so many MBAs hate unions when they refuse to hire someone without an MBA, thus creating their own union.

MBAs hate unions because unions have power that's not controlled by business. The de facto MBA union is controlled by business interests, so it's OK.

Don't think for a second that their opposition to unions is in any way principled. The goal of every MBA is to maximally exploit everyone and everything. Unions are an obstacle to that. That is all.

plumbers and electricians don't have degrees (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717297)

plumbers and electricians don't have degrees they have Apprenticeships and trade schools (and you don't need to sit 4 years in a class room) now other fields like IT need something like this.

Re:plumbers and electricians don't have degrees (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717761)

plumbers and electricians don't have degrees they have Apprenticeships and trade schools (and you don't need to sit 4 years in a class room) now other fields like IT need something like this.

But, studies show that people with a narrowly focused education don't adapt well to changes in technology. So, your apprenticeship in Windows NT 4 and Visual Basic 6.0 might not prepare you today as well as a degree would have.

that is what continuing education (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718229)

that is what continuing education is for so you take that windows 7 / windows 2008 class. And that can be done quicker and cheap then getting an degree.

Any ways what is better focused continuing education or 2 more years taking a full load of degree classes.

Re:that is what continuing education (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718373)

that is what continuing education is for...

Which in practice never actually happens. Sure, if you've just gotten laid off, continuing ed classes might be a way to become employable again, but for the most part, while you're working, you're working. You aren't going back to school constantly, and apart from the things you have to learn to keep your job, you're probably not taking classes on the side to make yourself a better candidate for a position at another company. This means that you're less mobile, and therefore are likely to get paid less for working longer hours, because they know they don't have to pay you more money to retain you as an employee.

Re:plumbers and electricians don't have degrees (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718287)

But what does all the filler and fluff that comes with a full degree help you adapt well to changes in technology?

Maybe it should be a 2-3 year core only degree.

Re:plumbers and electricians don't have degrees (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718357)

I am surrounded by people with Ph.D.s that can't adapt well to changes in technology.

Re:Degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717369)

The goal of every union is to maximally exploit everyone and everything. That is all.

FTFY

Re:Degree (4, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717001)

Accreditation and degrees carry weight because of what they mean. What does it mean if you say that you watched a few hundred YouTube videos and have the video history to back it up? Yes, you may have learned a lot from them, but how would anyone be able to tell that? Should they trust your word over the piece of paper another applicant has that says a recognized and trusted organization certifies that he learned that material?

Yes, it's a membership card, but it's a necessary one. In an ideal world, employers would be able to recognize skill, regardless of whether there's a piece of paper in the applicant's hand. We're not in an ideal world, however. Even if there were a perfect and not-too-burdensome way for employers to test the skills of applicants, most competent employers are willing to accept an otherwise-excellent applicant who is a bit rusty on some topics, since they understand that the applicant's prior experience and skills will allow them to pick it up again quickly. You can't test for that easily, and on the surface it doesn't look much different from not knowing the material at all. A degree is a decent indication that the person's claim to have learned the material is true. A YouTube video history is not.

That said, if there were someone with prior work experience (i.e. the other form of membership card) who hadn't gone through a university, I don't see why that would be problematic at all. But hiring someone on the basis of their claim that they learned the material from a series of videos? I don't doubt that people have done it, but it seems to me like a rather large risk, or else an expensive process to go through to test the veracity of their claims. Especially so in programming and the like, where a student who goes uncorrected in their bad habits is likely to have developed poor practices that will be difficult to correct.

Re:Degree (5, Interesting)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717191)

I've been in the position of hiring, and degrees and accreditation are meaningless to me. Show me what you have done, for-profit or not.

If you spent the last 4 years of your life sitting in a classroom, getting drunk on Thursday-Saturday night, but didn't take the time to actually build something with the education you gained, chances are you're going to waste your workday by forming meetings, chatting with coworkers, and watching them do all of the work.

On the other end, with 20 years of IT work, I've had other companies refuse to even accept my resume when I tell them I don't have a 4-year degree. It is helpful, though, because I'd likely quit if surrounded by people like that.

I dropped out not because of bad grades, but because I was falling behind in the work I wanted to do (networking) during the school year, and then catching up while working a summer job related to my field. It only took two summers of that until I realized that it was pretty fucking stupid to PAY to fall behind for 8 months of the year and only GET PAID 3 months while actually learning.

I don't hold it against you if the best way for you to learn was through extra school. However, if all you have to show for your education is a piece of paper, get lost.

On a related note, this is why I really think a formal guild should exist for IT workers. NOT collective bargaining, but a system where an apprentice learns under a master in that field. The master vouches for the abilities of the apprentice, and after a few times of different masters vouching for them, they become a journeyman.

As someone hiring, it wouldn't take long to know that Master X's word was solid, and Master Y often approved jack-offs, so the system can be self-correcting.

Re:Degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717279)

I've been in the position of hiring, and degrees and accreditation are meaningless to me. Show me what you have done, for-profit or not.

In a traditional University, you can show people what you have done especially if you took the opportunity to work in a professors lab or on a professors project. Can't do that with Khan.

and the traditional University projects. (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717351)

and the traditional University projects. likely are stuff that you will not see in the real work place and even then CS IS NOT IT!

Re:and the traditional University projects. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40718183)

That's because CS is a field of study. IT is trade like plumbing, or carpentry.

4-year degree CS is not IT (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717373)

I have seen lot's of IT jobs (desktop / admin / network) that want a cs degree then CS is more on the high level theory side of things and is more for doing programming work.

Re:Degree (4, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717631)

Kudos to you for taking the time to properly interview candidates.

I don't disagree with anything you said. I merely believe that most employers would be unwilling to spend so much time interviewing candidates who likely have a lower chance of being prepared for the challenges posed by the job. For every excellent applicant that taught themselves via an alternative method, you'll have dozens of slackers who claim to have done so but have not. And while I agree entirely regarding your assessment of college, at least it establishes something. You'll still have a disproportionate number of slackers, but the number should be lower, given that college at least imposes some requirements, whereas self-study does not.

As I said in my original comment, I do believe that if someone has prior work experience then it shouldn't matter where they got their skills. At that point, as you said, you can judge them on the basis of their prior work, but if they lack prior work experience, then I see no problems with an employer using the degree as a filter on their candidate pool. It's not perfect, but it does help to remove the part of the pool that is less likely to have the necessary skills.

Re:Degree (1)

tattood (855883) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717215)

Should they trust your word over the piece of paper another applicant has that says a recognized and trusted organization certifies that he learned that material?

No. That is what a job interview is for. You need to know what the job requirements are, and how to test if the applicant has the knowledge to do that job. If they do, then they should get hired whether they have a college degree, watched a lot of YouTube, or they learned it all from experience. In the tech field, a degree usually doesn't mean much. I have worked with people that had their degree in economics, history, and even aviation. I have worked with more people that have no college degree, or an irrelevant degree than I have that actually went to school for their trade. It is their knowledge and experience that made them qualified for the job

Re:Degree (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717429)

I completely agree, but how many of those people were fresh hires who had no prior experience in the field when you worked with them? That's what I was talking about. As I said, if you have someone with prior experience, I don't think anyone should care whether their skills were picked up from YouTube or in a classroom. But for fresh hires with no prior experience, I don't see how it would be in a company's best interests to allow anyone to apply, regardless of formal education.

well the old formal education system is not good f (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717789)

well the old formal education system is not good for IT and it's time for them to look at new ideas and non formal class settings.

Re:well the old formal education system is not goo (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717947)

IT requires a technical degree generally, not a four-year education. I don't see how it applies in this context.

Re:well the old formal education system is not goo (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718265)

But lot's of IT jobs want a four-year education and passover people with real skills or people who took classes that don't fall into a 4 year four-year education system.

The four-year education comes with a LOT of filler that is not needed.

and then you need to stop passing over people with (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717435)

and then you need to stop passing over people without a degree and give them a interview.

Any ways saying windows 2008 class , windows 7 class, ECT is a lot better then IT degree at X school.

Trade schools / Tech schools should be there as we (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717247)

Trade schools / Tech schools should be there as well and they are more then just a some vidoes on line but they don't really fall into a degrees plan that well and there lot's of NON degree IT classes out there as well.

Re:Degree (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717913)

Massively online open courses aren't just YouTube videos. They are far more interactive. As people like myself who took part in the Standford courses can testify; it's no joke to understand and complete the tests and exercises that accompany the video content. Sure, it may be easier to cheat online than in a real classroom, but implying that all you have to show after these courses for your comprehension is a 'video history' is naive and/or ignorant.

Re:Degree (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718157)

For someone accusing me of ignorance, you seem to have failed quite a bit at reading comprehension.

This entire thread is specifically about YouTube videos, since that's the topic the OP brought up. Nowhere did I suggest that they were the only form of online learning. I merely constrained my commentary to them, since that was the context provided by earlier posts in this thread. You're the one that's taken my narrowly-aimed words and generalized them into an opinion that I do not hold.

I have no issues with interactive online courses offered by universities. They suffer from few or none of the issues I was talking about. Why you assumed that I was implying otherwise is beyond me, when the context of the conversation was plain for anyone to see, and my words were obviously inapplicable to the types of courses you've described.

Re:Degree (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717985)

"But hiring someone on the basis of their claim that they learned the material from a series of videos?"

It beats the mumbling old geezer down on the floor, at _least_ I can raise the volume.

These get millions and millions of viewers, they're either very good or they contain a very cute cat.

Re:Degree (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718367)

I don't doubt that they may be better for learning. But there is a question of goals.

If your goal is to learn, you should use whatever method works best for you, regardless of anything else. Knowledge and understanding is its own reward. Enjoy it.

If your goal is to be employed in a field, you need to have demonstrably learned something, and the methods of learning that are demonstrable do not always align with the best methods for learning.

That videos like these work for many people is great. I cannot overstate that fact, nor do I want to diminish it. But the learning you get from it is not easily demonstrated without a willingness from a potential employer to spend a decent amount of time on a large number of candidates, isn't certified or accredited by any governing bodies, and has not necessarily been tested either. As a result, these videos are not a full replacement for programs that do offer those. That said, they are a great supplement.

Re:Degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717463)

I'm sick of that presumption. The point of education SHOULD be to become educated. Then, you use that education to do X work better than others without that education.

Instead, we treat it like a membership card into business. I fail to understand why so many MBAs hate unions when they refuse to hire someone without an MBA, thus creating their own union.

That is a good theory. But, the education and the piece of paper are designed to solve different problems. When you have 10000 resumes for one position, how are you supposed to choose between them? An education with a piece of paper is worth more money than an education without a piece of paper because the piece of paper gives an employer a better method of solving this problem.

A drivers license is similar. The purpose of teaching people how to drive is to actually let them learn the skills. But, without some kind of piece of paper (or laminated card or whatever) it is difficult to know whether or not someone meets the minimum standards.

MBAs hate unions only because they mean more money goes to people without MBAs instead of the people with MBAs. Hiring people without MBAs for their position only lessons the perceived value of MBAs. Hence, their position is internally consistent.

   

so just buy a degree then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717909)

life skills degree what the difference you are just useing it to get to a real person and why should some with a underwater basket weaving degree get a pass over some with no degree and lot's of real work skills

there should be a GED for universities then (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718175)

there should be a GED for universities then.

But a drivers has a road test part to it and a test based on real driving.

But the minimum standards for say IT should be about doing the job and CS does not prove that but other IT classes do.

Re:Degree (2)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717989)

In general, human beings are horrible about judgment and filtering - ask McCain about Mrs. Palin. We look for any tips to be able to filter for our choices. Why do you think brands matter so much? "Ahh, but I don't care about brands." Yes, you may not, but most people do.

We live in a world much more complex than our monkey brains can carry us. "There's a tiger, what should I do? RUN" is a much easier choice than "there are 100 resumes, which ones should I pick".

Lets think of MBA (or any accreditation) as a brand. What does it mean, as a filter? It means you managed to get into a school, managed to finance it, and managed to complete some level of coursework over a period long enough to attain a degree. It may not mean you're smart, but it does mean you accomplished at least some milestones, jumped some hurdles. HR people generally don't have enough skill to truly filter on technical details (or they'd probably not be in HR) so they look for the "brands". I may be able to learn something off of youtube, but I didn't jump any of the acceptance, finance, or grading hurdles.

I remember one interview I performed. I'm a UNIX guy, but as "crosstraining" I interviewed a Windows guy. He mentioned some ActiveDirectory migration. I know what AD is, but I have no idea if what he did was hard. Was it a 2 minute "click and AD does the rest" thing, or did it involve planning, rolling upgrades, coordinating logouts and logins to the new controller. No idea. So I had no easy way to filter. Luckily I know enough that I was able to figure he was a script monkey. But what if I didn't know AD at all? All i have is this "brand", a certificate from a good school or class.

Yeah, it sucks. In the real world, we'd all be able to test everyone and a brand wouldn't matter. But that's a world without humans, because we all use brands and guesswork to fill in insufficient data.

Get rid of the fluff and filler (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718055)

Why does art history or hobby craft stuff at the universities level? Why do some schools still have required PE classes and swim tests?

Re:Degree (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718387)

That's exactly the point. If just any old person could go out and start doing something they learned without paying their dues we would have anarchy as far as the establishment was concerned, that and very low prices.

Re:Degree (1)

lance_of_the_apes (2300548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717207)

That's why the system needs to include certifications based on the students' interactions. It can't be a matter of just watching videos. Khan has online quizzes and tracking, but I think there is a long way to go before anyone will be handing out degrees.

Re:Degree (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717865)

Kahn Academy is about educating yourself. Learning something because you want to.
It does not need to hand out pieces of paper. Actual education is important. Papers to get a job are an entirely different thing.
I use Kahn to learn interesting things that I do not have a need to know.
Leave it the fuck alone. It is perfect.

Re:Degree (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717567)

If it lets someone in the middle of nowhere get their GRE so that they CAN go to college, what's the harm?

Or watching stuff to brush up on some stuff like Thermodynamics. I know I'd love to go back and sit through a lecture or two of my controls classes.

The problem with MIT's Opencourseware is that it's just a full lecture online, sometimes with accompanying notes/homework. The hole that no one has filled is 400, 500, 600 level courses (Senior, Grad level) done like Kahn. It'd be something that I might even pay for.

Sit down, sum up some delicate control theory in 10-20 minutes with very nice easy to read graphics (I don't need to see a guy walking around in front of a white board) and tada. That's what you're missing.

Catch? (2)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716557)

Since when has education become a competition?

Re:Catch? (5, Insightful)

Chonnawonga (1025364) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716593)

Since when has education become a competition?

Since it became a business.

Re:Catch? (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716715)

>>>became a business.

Which has been true since before recorded history. Education has always involved paying a tutor or lecturer to teach the younger generation, and thus the tutors were actually businessmen selling a service.

Re:Catch? (2)

Chonnawonga (1025364) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716929)

No argument here. And by extension, it's been a competition since before recorded history.

Re:Catch? (2)

chippey (1300023) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717439)

Getting teachers and educators paid != try to squeeze every bit of profit out of students. My interpretation of Chonnawonga's comment is that there has been a transition of focus from education's primary goal of educating and imparting knowledge and learning (paying the teachers enough for a liveable wage), to 'education' as a business where the primary goal is to profit and make money for the bureaucratic overhead.

Re:Catch? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717593)

>>>to 'education' as a business where the primary goal is to profit and make money for the bureaucratic overhead.

You just described "college" for the last 200 years. They all have the same goal of extracting as much money as possible from the student, in order to fund their internal plans (such as inventing some new gadget or process that they can make money from).

Re:Catch? (1)

chippey (1300023) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717963)

In the U.S. certainly for a while that's been true (especially true of private universities and colleges, although even a few decades ago in state schools were pretty decent). However, until very recently in various places around the world higher education has been fairly inexpensive, or even free. The relative recent rash of for-profit schools have further ingrained this.

Re:Catch? (1)

ethanms (319039) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717025)

Mod Parent Up

Re:Catch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716643)

The dawn of time.

Re:Catch? (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716661)

Back when education got better.

Re:Catch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716811)

It's always has been. Everything in life is a graded event...

Re:Catch? (1)

littlebigbot (2493634) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717869)

We were competing in everything before we were ever human.

Udemy, (1, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716561)

My Kindle just lit-up with an ad from this company. 2 online courses for Excel at $35 (instead of 200). I was tempted to click "buy" however I know nothing about this company. I don't just hand money to random corps.

Re:Udemy, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717841)

My Kindle just lit-up with an ad from this company. 2 online courses for Excel at $35 (instead of 200). I was tempted to click "buy" however I know nothing about this company. I don't just hand money to random corps.

Does the Kindle lack a browser capable of getting information about Udemy?

No mention of nerdfighters John and Hank Green? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716587)

Vidcon, they started Vidcon!!! DFTBA!

missing the point entirely (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716627)

There have been good textbooks for centuries. Watching a video is not going to improve things much. Online quizzes don't make people brilliant.

The first reason the top universities are at the top is their research output.

And the reason undergraduates excel at those top universities is that they spend almost every day for several years in contact with the people and resources which make that research possible. They go to tutorials. They chat through problems. They do extended lab work. They write extended pieces of work which are marked carefully by experts who can provide interactive feedback.

The Open University, the pioneering distance education factility in the UK which has several hundred thousand part-time and FTE students, has since 1969 provided more than all these supposedly "new" online education providers: custom textbooks tailored for learning with worked problems; a tutor who will mark your work and who you can contact whenever you want when you have a problem; several face-to-face tutorials throughout the year; possibly one or more residential schools; etc. Exams are all done in exam centres under exam conditions. Even then, it cannot hope to match the best red brick universities.

Khan knows how to market itself. It gives an opportunity to those dilettantes who don't know where else to find the information, online or offline. But it won't produce a new generation of leaders / top thinkers.

Re:missing the point entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716863)

Amen! Mod up, please!

Re:missing the point entirely (4, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717105)

There have been good textbooks for centuries. Watching a video is not going to improve things much.

Oh yes it does. A conversational description of the material, as opposed to over-edited reference-worthy technical descriptions, can go a very long way in helping understanding. Seeing the interaction of somebody actually working through a problem and pointing things out (including their thought process), instead of a terse list of opaque steps, is huge. Along with the slides and downloads, all the reference material is still represented, but watching another human demonstrate the information is much often a faster and deeper way to communicate the same concepts. Not everybody can learn as well from just reading textbooks, even the good ones. Even if they can, going through a video lecture before reading the text seems to be a great way to make the reading far more meaningful, as familiarity has been bootstrapped.

There is merit to the other facets you describe, but lowering the cost and other barriers to entry to actual training (not just reference materials) is an amazing step forward.

Re:missing the point entirely (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717983)

Not everybody can learn as well from just reading textbooks, even the good ones.

Regardless, the skill and/or patience to learn from reading books is invaluable. If you want to learn things, learning how to use textbooks is a great place to start.

IMO, text is a much more efficient means of storing and communicating information than video, in general. Printing it on paper also makes information more accessible in terms of price and technological requirements.

Re:missing the point entirely (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717319)

Most of the people who watch Khan academy are either casual learners wanting to get a good introduction to some topic (as opposed to looking to obtain expert knowledge) or they are already students looking for material to supplement what their high school teacher or professor is teaching them.

Unless I've been misinformed, Khan doesn't give out degrees, so they're not really in direct competition with unis. The only way they're competing is that they're providing lectures that are much more insightful and informative as compared to the varying quality of education students receive in school.

I disagree that having direct access to researchers really makes a difference in undergrad. If you're in a grad program, then I would agree with you, but for undergrads, you're going to be learning material that's already considered established knowledge. You just need a competent expert in the field to be the lecturer. My experience has been that the professors consider their lecturing duties to be a chore and a distraction from their research activities with attitudes varying from open hostility towards students, apathy, to having some level of interest in lecturing but not really having their heart in it. Only very few really seem to take it seriously and go the extra mile.

The reason undergrads excel at the top-tier universities is because the best people apply to them and those schools spend months deciding which students they want to take in. They only take in students who have some kind of track record of seriousness and success. The students are not "molded" by the university experience from nothing into something; they were already the cream of the crop before they applied.

While I'm not sure Khan will replace the regular University experience (though they could certianly branch off into providing degrees at a later time, perhaps), I think you are very foolish to be so dismissive of the changing landscape of education and society in general. Things could change to the point where online degrees become a fashionable low-cost alternative to expensive university education, especially with the lower classes who don't have the good opportunities to prove themselves in college.

Re:missing the point entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717747)

Khan's place in the universe is not to supplant all other forms of learning. You're not expected to learn only from Khan. The point of a Khan video is to inspire you in a visual and conversational way, to help you gain intuition about a subject, and to be interested in it. A successful Khan-user is a self-motivated person. They watch a Vi Hart piece on the math of plants, and then they spend a few hours tooling around wikipedia links reading further about related subjects. And/or they talk to their friends about the subject. And/or, if the problem space really interests them, they start looking into hardcore research papers published on the topic. Perhaps along the way they'll figure out something new and publish a paper of their own. It's academics with the academy. It's democracy and freedom applied to learning, for once. People are becoming self-directed. They don't want to learn what some dude told them they *need* to learn to get degree X so they can get job Y. They want to learn what's interesting to them. If you pursue what actually interests you, you have boundless self-motivation and you don't need a structured environment. Just good resources.

Re:missing the point entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717891)

There have been good textbooks for centuries. Watching a video is not going to improve things much. Online quizzes don't make people brilliant.

The first reason the top universities are at the top is their research output.

And the reason undergraduates excel at those top universities is that they spend almost every day for several years in contact with the people and resources which make that research possible. They go to tutorials. They chat through problems. They do extended lab work. They write extended pieces of work which are marked carefully by experts who can provide interactive feedback.

The Open University, the pioneering distance education factility in the UK which has several hundred thousand part-time and FTE students, has since 1969 provided more than all these supposedly "new" online education providers: custom textbooks tailored for learning with worked problems; a tutor who will mark your work and who you can contact whenever you want when you have a problem; several face-to-face tutorials throughout the year; possibly one or more residential schools; etc. Exams are all done in exam centres under exam conditions. Even then, it cannot hope to match the best red brick universities.

Khan knows how to market itself. It gives an opportunity to those dilettantes who don't know where else to find the information, online or offline. But it won't produce a new generation of leaders / top thinkers.

What makes you think the new generation of leaders and top thinkers won't use both? I am guessing that at least 90% of the new generation of top thinkers will both go to a university and watch videos from one or more free online class at some point. Do you think the new generation of leaders will not be smart enough to find youtube? Or do you think that they will just never watch a lecture on there? Both seem really unlikely.

Don't forget Teaching Company (5, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716641)

I've been buying their product since the 90s when they were called "The Great Teachers" company. I took advantage of their once or twice-a-year sales to clear the warehouse. A customer can buy an entire course (~50 hours) for about the same cost as a month of cable. I learned more about history, language, philosophy from those audiocassettes than 5 years of actual college.

Re:Don't forget Teaching Company (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718149)

I learned more about history, language, philosophy from those audiocassettes than 5 years of actual college.

I seriously doubt that. You may have amassed more facts - but facts aren't learning. When you take a serious degree, you also learn how to think and handle information via writing papers and interaction/discussion between yourself and other students and the professor.

Khaaan!!!! (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716667)

This is the only Khan I like on YouTube...

Khaaaaan!!!! [youtube.com]

non-profit vs profit (4, Insightful)

djbckr (673156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716689)

It really all comes down to this. Kahn Academy is non-profit, and is more interested in the public good. Everybody else that wants to get on this bandwagon simply can't compete with this, because they want money, and lots of it. Nobody else will be able to stop them.

Re:non-profit vs profit (1)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718057)

This is not a universal.

If there is money to be made in doing good, someone just might do good better to make that money.

A non-profit staffed by motivated visionaries and given sufficient funding will usually do far better, but the non-profit is only one aspect of that.

Khan doesn't have much for advanced material (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716703)

There's a lot of stuff being offered by traditional universities which is way above Khan's level. Khan is great for an introduction, and even a bit more, but that is all. For example, take a look at Stanford's Convex Optimization course: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McLq1hEq3UY
Khan doesn't offer anything close to that. There's plenty of room for competitors to grow.

One thing is certain (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716711)

The model of education used in the IS for the last 100 years or so is no longer sufficient. Online courses will be part of whatever the new system will be, but only a part.

more trades like systems is needed and less clas (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717209)

more trades like systems is needed and less class room time with more hands on parts.

So part of issues is the ties to past where there is too much put into a 4 year degree skipping over the more focused trades / tech school learning there it should be not tied to a degree plan I think that some of the lack of respect does come from them trying to be 2 or 4 year degree places when they should really be trades based and offer classes on a 'Badges' like system.

Also a other down side of putting too much into a 4 year degree is that people going trades / tech schools can get locked out of some IT internships that are tied to the past system.

A Badges system is better than having continuing education be just masters, phd, Ect and are not only big time sinks they are also geared towards to being a teacher.

We have places like tribeca flashpoint but it is only a 2 year school but I have seen Film & Broadcast, Recording Arts, Animation & Visual Effects jobs that want a 4 year degree.

Also a other down side of putting too much into a 4 year degree is that people going trades / tech schools can get locked out of some IT internships that are tied to the past system.

We don’t need factory’s full of Forman / designers and we also need the Forman to be able to jump in and do the job from time to time as well. CS is kind of like that you are training people to be designers but they mostly don’t get the skills needed do the work on the stuff they are designing and we also need people with the skills to do the work and not so much to be a designer. Not that best analogy. A quick car analogy can be you are trading car mechanic to be an car designer / car engineer and in the clases you don’t even touch the insides a real car or even the tools used in a car shop.

Khan Academy criticisms (4, Insightful)

ebusinessmedia1 (561777) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716733)

Khan Academy is a great resource, but it's far from a perfect substitute if one want to accomplish deep learning. The fact is that there is a LOT of free and very helpful tutorial learning material on the Internet. Khan has caught a lot of interest because of the sheer scale that Sal Khan accomplished on his own. I think it's a great tool, but is becoming quite overrated in terms of what we know from those who teach face-to-face, and learning science.

Here are some valid criticisms of Khan Academy. http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2012/07/03/the-trouble-with-khan-academy/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en [chronicle.com]

http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/khan-academy-and-the-effectiveness-of-science-videos/ [wordpress.com]

In sum, Khan Academy is NOT a revolution in learning; it's a tool that many will use to help revolutionize education.

Re:Khan Academy criticisms (1)

microbread (2651139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40716787)

Khan is rubbish once you need greater than high school level knowledge. Granted there are great introductions to fields like finance, but fields that, at first glance, appear to have lots of videos often aren't that useful. So yes, it's a nice resource and good for learning new things, but don't expect to learn very much on there. As a physics graduate, I'm much more inclined to view things on iTunes U or the various university homepages because the quality is good and the material is at a much higher level.

Re:Khan Academy criticisms (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717293)

"Khan is rubbish once you need greater than high school level knowledge."
Considering the current state of America, rubbish seems a fine aspiration; at least we'd be sitting on something.
Having gone through more than a few Khan lectures for python, I recently signed up for a Udemy course which I purchased with a coupon for $8 - a great deal. In comparison, they are not infinitely far apart, though Udemy does come out ahead so far and includes literature, etc. I have no complaints about either, but could probably offer a few suggestions to both sources, and I am actually beneath your rubbish criteria, at least with python. I guess I'll see.

Re:Khan Academy criticisms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717431)

"Khan is rubbish once you need greater than high school level knowledge"

First grade is rubbish once you get to second grade. Eight grade is rubbish once you get to ninth grade and so on. Your line of reasoning is asanine.

Re:Khan Academy criticisms (4, Insightful)

aurizon (122550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717469)

Khan grows daily, and it quite capable of teaching high levels, even above the doctorate level.
Khan is a scattering of disparate modules, and quality varies.
It needs to be structured so that it can be learned standard courses in each discipline, on a term by term and year by year basis - albeit in far less time.
It also needs lab courses - youtube does fill the lab need, but not as well as a true lab, where fluids are poured and voltages measured and lab reports written and graded.
I can see a time where there is computer grading, with a secure ID, tied to IP address to give certificates of some kind. Machine certificates done by remote are still susceptible to hired ringers writing exams for people (which plagues real colleges too), the real world will demand real invigilated exams for each course before a complete course can be graded as passed and an aggregate of course completed as a year passed and three/four years = a degree. Once this is done, the entire degree will be able to compete in the hiring process.

I can see a process of maturation in the idea, but the idea of invigilated exams added to Khan will take a way to pay for this, since it goes beyond volunteer work (IMHO).

Five years from now, we will be amazed at how far they have come. I wonder if the brick and mortar colleges will try to kill the idea???

Different Audience (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40716771)

Khan Academy targets a wider audience than the others that are mentioned. Most of the others are aimed at university level education. For example, Coursera is mostly undergraduate courses like Algorithms and Cryptology. Udacity has some machine learning car. A lot of these are also tech based and/or programming based.

Meanwhile, Khan Academy offers everything from elementary Algebra and Geometry to Calculus and Differential Equations. So they reach the whole k-12 audience which the others will not reach. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just a different product. I hope they don't water down Coursera because it's good at what it does: free undergraduate level courses. I don't want it to spend time doing 8th grade Geometry, Khan does that already!

Re:Different Audience (1)

lance_of_the_apes (2300548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717169)

Agreed. The other companies need to cover the basics if they want to compete. I think the next step is to be more interactive. Fewer videos and more hands on.

Khan's lessons length of TV segment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717039)

On commercial television the length of programming between commercials is 5 to 13 minutes. I feel that may be more platable that the monolithic standard 50-minute lecture. But then too many modern professors may insert a click-quiz every 5-13 minutes to reinforce the material they had just delivered. Khan segments may work better for your hyperactive, multi-tasking kid.

Why not combine Kickstarter with Khan Academy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717071)

Just recruit top dog professors willing to make the material with skilled programmers to make an interactive web app education platform. When a branch of education gets funding, allocate the resources appropriately and run the whole site free, integrate it with Wikipedia. Make some Facebook app to show an academic profile with badges and the like.

Distance learning - good and bad (3, Interesting)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717095)

Having done a normal university course, a couple of decades ago, and now having experienced normal distance learning, where there is no interaction with other students, some with limited interaction, and some with a lot, I am totally convinced of the value of student contact with other students as a necessary element for really effective learning. Similarly the opportunity to challenge a lecturer over an issue is totally lacking in the Khan model; whilst that works to some extent for purely technical subjects, even there robust seminars are a useful adjunct to pure lectures. And it's this area where Khan will fall down; it's good as a means of transmitting knowledge from the lecturer to the notebook of the student - but education should be more than that. And it's that second element that costs the money to provide.

school should not be about makeing money (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717131)

school should not be about makeing money covering costs and yes paying people good pay (not CEO pay) is ok.

But some places take that makeing money way to far with jacking up credits needed to pass, Fees, Forced meal plans and foreced room and board fees.

videos and passive learning (2)

manaway (53637) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717197)

Khan's lectures are simple, accurate, and highly valuable. However, how much does one learn from passively watching great lectures which ignore a student's missteps and false presumptions? This Veritasum video on Khan's videos [youtube.com] demonstrates the effectiveness, or rather ineffectiveness, of at least some kinds of video learning. (And yes, the irony of using a video to teach the ineffectivenss of educational videos will not be lost on anyone.)

Education more art than science (2)

Ransak (548582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717225)

"Fair enough, but in its essence, teaching is a performance art." - Amy Farrah Fowler

Oh c'mon (3, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717287)

Can Anyone Catch Khan Academy?

Anyone? No. Someone? Probability would say "yes".

Universities are investing millions in software for 'massive online open courses' or MOOCs, but unless they can figure out how to make their material fun as well as instructive, Khan may have an insurmountable lead.

What a load of crap. I love Khan's materials, but not because they are fun, but because they are valuable. Plus, I had plenty of college professors that made their lectures fun. And I had classes that were some of the most imporant in my education, and I know the subject and delivery weren't fun. Fun is not an intrinsic property of good education.

Edutainment != education. Such is the state of our sorry ZOMG-Kardashian society.

Also there is pretention in the quoted text that colleges are having a hard time producing instructive online material. Seriously, have they never seen a Stanford/MIT online lecture? There are many universities out there providing grad-level education online with success.

Another thing that people misconstrue (and not a criticism of Khan's videos, but of the fanboys who do) is that Khan's videos are nice to watch because... gasp, they are, in general, relatively shorter than a full-blown lecture. A 90-minute long video lecture will bore you down no matter how "fun" the instructor is. Specially if the material is dense. Or try a 3 hour video lecture. You'll be crawling off the walls even if it is performed by your favorite professor (I know because I've had to take those lectures @ WPI.)

1. If Google were to decide to put its might behind Udacity (which is really fine material btw), wouldn't anyone think that it would pass over Khan Academy? Ergo, the title of this story is an oxymoron like no other.

2. Universities will adapt, prices will go down. They won't get replaced by them, in particular when it comes to research. What I see here is that these private enterprises will accelerate adoption of online media by brick-n-mortar schools (which has been occuring since before Khan came into the picture.)

This is not to take anything away from Khan's marvelous work. But for Christ' sake, don't treat it like the second coming holding the holy grail while riding a silver bullet.

Forgot to mention (1)

tiffany352 (2485630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717383)

CrashCourse, the wonderful Youtube channel offering a history and biology course hosted by John and Hank Green!

When are full Bachelors degrees coming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717723)

I have yet to see any major university offering a CS Bachelors degree online.

It is nice to see Universities putting up free classes, but when are they going to start putting up material to obtain a full Bachelors degree (free or pay)?

It's not Khan they are trying to catch.... (2)

erp_consultant (2614861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40717759)

It is the notion that someone will come along and take what Khan has done and make it a real substitute for traditional in class learning. Khan has taken a very altruistic approach to learning. He believes that it should be free to anyone that wants it. American universities, especially private universities, are most definitely in it to make money. Yes, they want to educate people but make no mistake - they want to bring in as much cash as they can. Look no further than college sports for evidence of that. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing but it's at odds with Khan's stated approach to education. What the universities really fear is someone coming along that has a profit mindset and improving what Khan has done to the extent that it becomes a compelling alternative to traditional in class education. And if that alternative all of a sudden gets widespread acceptance in the business community as a valid degree on par with the in class degree the universities will be in a world of hurt. That's why they are all jumping into the online realm. They need to have some kind of offering out there just in case. Just as an aside, I have been working in the IT field for a long time and the best programmer I ever worked with had an English degree. The next best had a math degree. The next best didn't have any degree at all - completely self taught. I'm not saying that a CompSci degree is worthless but I have worked with an awful lot of people without one that were every bit as good as people with one. As more people with online degrees get into management I think you'll see the acceptance online degrees continue to grow.

Finish Him! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40717763)

Isn't this the last guy in Mortal Kombat?

college for all and the one size fit's all ideas = (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718019)

college for all and the one size fit's all ideas = what we are seeing today in Universities.

Yes do need some post high school learning but we are going about it in not the right way.

Not all people are cut out for college and not all courses plans / classes are at the college level and other stuff is just fluff and filler.

are 2-3 year core only degrees a good way to go? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718309)

are 2-3 year core only degrees a good way to go?

The old ideas of being well rounded is moving to the nice to have part and why should you pay $20,000+ a year to lean art history and music when you don't want to get into them but are forced to take classes to just to fill credits?

Universities do it for the wrong reasons (1)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 2 years ago | (#40718349)

There are a lot of reasons to be physically present at a "brick and mortar" university with an instsructor in the room with you.

  To the extent that universities want to break from this model, it isn't about education at all. It isn't even about making an education cheaper; it's about extracting money from suckers. [ucsd.edu]

  So, good for Khan Academy for doing what they're doing and giving it away for free. All the bottom feeders (including Bill Gates [edweek.org] ) who want to charge money for this stuff have nothing useful to offer and are just trying to game the system in one or another way for a buck.

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