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Interviews: Ask Lead Developer Ben Kamens About Khan Academy

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the ask-away dept.

Education 69

Ben Kamens spent over 5 years at Fog Creek, eventually working his way up to VP of engineering. However, after watching one of Salman Khan's talks he started to volunteer his time at Khan Academy, and is now the lead developer. In-between providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere, he's graciously agreed to answer some of your questions. As usual, ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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69 comments

Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42863927)

Why is it that as soon as the cabbage patch kid that was near my ass vanished, I heard the sound of an elevator?

Higher Education (5, Interesting)

null etc. (524767) | about a year ago | (#42863939)

Joel Spolsky has famously stated that he prefers software engineers who come from highly accredited universities, preferably Ivy-league. His thought is that one has to distinguish oneself in order to be granted admission to such places. Do you think that Joel's opinion, and those of other elitist employers, will change with the introduction of free, quality online education?

Re:Higher Education (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864047)

Higher education is an Ubuntu £inux conspiracy by Shuttleworth to brainwash children into learning Ubuntu. This will prepare them to be soldiers of Canocicle and overthrow the good king Steve Ballmer who has guided and protected the computer industry for a decade. Shuttleworth wants to ascend to the throne and become an evil monopolist. You can stop him: Uninstall ubuntu!

Re:Higher Education (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864521)

Conversely:

It has been argued that Ivy League schools, and to an extent, other well-regarded schools often distinguish themselves not necessarily by having the best educating, but by being able to select the best performing individuals. Either way, they stand out, either because they are a good filter, because they provide a good education, or some combination of the two.

Taking into account the "filter" issue, and success-breeds-success, what does Khan Academy do to make it's students stand out compared to other schools?

Re:Higher Education (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864945)

teach them the difference between it's and its?

Re:Higher Education (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about a year ago | (#42865355)

No. The teaching is arguably better and the controls that assure that the student who is given credit for the course on the transcript is actually the same student who attended class and took the tests to achieve the grade on the transcript are definitely better.

Question for slashdot (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#42864003)

We've seen a lot of these "post your questions" topics, but hardly any answers lately. When will we start seeing responses?

Re:Question for slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864205)

When will we start seeing responses?

In response to your question, you're an idiot.

lead dev (1, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42864033)

Lead dev, eh? I'm betting you sit in on lots of spec definition meetings. Maybe with The Man himself. Does he give informal presentations just like the real lectures or ? Feel free to lie if the answer would get you fired. Hmm maybe this question sucks.

Ah F it that was dumb lets ask something more realistic. I always ask coder/tech types whats their coolest hack / coolest piece of code. Not something else someone else did, not some giant overall project or vague thing like "world peace" just your coolest isolated to one individual "thing" hack. Something they did personally not hired someone else to do, or something their boss did. Maybe in your LOB its an amazing caching technique, or an astounding way to compress video or whatever. Or some astounding workflow thingy. A short story just a paragraph no more. The kind of thing a /. audience would respond with "cool!" when they read it.

Re:lead dev (1)

Teckla (630646) | about a year ago | (#43004925)

Ah F it that was dumb lets ask something more realistic. I always ask coder/tech types whats their coolest hack / coolest piece of code.

Ugh, I hate that question. It always seems to "make the cut", and the answer is invariably dull, uninspiring, and boring. It's such a complete waste of a question.

Please people, quit asking the stupid "coolest hack" question, or at least don't vote it up!

Platform For Schools (2)

GeneralSecretary (1959616) | about a year ago | (#42864037)

I've heard that KhanAcademy has a platform for schools. Students can learn using Khan Academy and teachers can monitor their progress and help students where they need it most. When I last heard about this the platform was a pilot program being launched at select schools. Are there plans to make this platform generally available? or even open source?

Re:Platform For Schools (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42864087)

To help google for it, its an old TED talk maybe came up in the rotation a year ago. I saw the presentation you've only heard of. It was fairly cool.

Re:Platform For Schools (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864367)

I use Khan Academy to teach my daughter math since I don't have time to, and I use the tool you are talking about to monitor her progress. It is available to anyone who signs up for a Khan Academy account. You have the "student" sign up for an account and then ad you as a "tutor". Once this is done you can see all of their progress, statistics, and the likes. It is awesome!

When you get upset at Salman... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864041)

Do you pick up your cellphone and scream "KHHHAAAAANNNN!!!!" into it?

Re:When you get upset at Salman... (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42864217)

Or more directly, is that your personalized ringtone and what was salman's reaction the first time he heard it?
I used to have a personalized ringtone that said something like "Wife Alert" whenever my wife called, she was pretty pissed about it, still don't know why. Probably thought I had a "Girlfriend Alert" ringtone too.

Re:When you get upset at Salman... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864333)

I used to have a personalized ringtone that said something like "Wife Alert" whenever my wife called, she was pretty pissed about it, still don't know why.

My phone plays the national anthem when my wife calls; because whenever she calls, everyone has to stand up (to carry in the shopping).

Verification (4, Insightful)

GeneralSecretary (1959616) | about a year ago | (#42864077)

It seems to me that the problem with online education is being able to prove what you have learned. I can learn Calculus online at Khan Academy or at my local community college. I'll probably learn Calculus better at Khan Academy and for less money. But, I cannot use that knowledge to get a degree nor would I have any other way of proving my knowledge to other schools or potential employers. Do you have a solution to this problem?

Re:Verification (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864131)

Stop being a dirty hippy and go to a real college? Or does that cost money?

Re:Verification (1)

griffjon (14945) | about a year ago | (#42864143)

To add on to this, P2PU is working with Mozilla's Open Badge system for providing a badge-based verification process; can this model gain traction in academia? (http://info.p2pu.org/tag/badges/)

Re:Verification (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year ago | (#42864181)

nor would I have any other way of proving my knowledge to other schools or potential employers

Google for CLEP tests, older than dirt or at least older than me.

One school I attended only allowed two CLEP tests per semester. I have absolutely no idea why both in this practical situation or in theory. Also they only accepted CLEP tests for certain classes. I'm pretty sure calc was one of them, but if there is a CLEP test for diffeqs and you pass yet they refuse to accept it via the xfer process, you're pretty much SOL other than the appeals process.

Potential employers don't seem to care about much other than granted degrees. HR doesn't care about anything other than Bachelors, Masters, and Doesn't have a PHD.

Re:Verification (1)

GeneralSecretary (1959616) | about a year ago | (#42864331)

I took a lot of CLEP tests. It could be a model for a solution, but there's room to grow. As you said, colleges often don't accept them or limit them, and there are a limited number of tests available.

Re:Verification (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#42867367)

One school I attended only allowed two CLEP tests per semester. I have absolutely no idea why both in this practical situation or in theory.

Possibly because wider acceptance of CLEP test results for material learned online would put them out of business.

Re:Verification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42865613)

Standardized tests? I'm not sure about college, but in high school I could work through the Khan Academy calculus section and then take the AP Calc test.

Hybrid courses (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42866151)

It seems to me that the problem with online education is being able to prove what you have learned. I can learn Calculus online at Khan Academy or at my local community college. I'll probably learn Calculus better at Khan Academy and for less money. But, I cannot use that knowledge to get a degree nor would I have any other way of proving my knowledge to other schools or potential employers. Do you have a solution to this problem?

Apropos of this, a number of MOOCs -- don't know if Khan is doing this as well -- are engaging in experimentatl partnerships with degree-granting institutions for hybrid courses where the MOOC is a central component of the combined course, but there is a live component and exams as well.

Some of us would like to contribute, how can we? (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#42864123)

I find the idea of having ebooks for free and then K-12 kids getting an ereader for saving the school district money. Expanding this, I feel edutainment was never done right and could be explored again. Finally if some professors do their lecture once, they wouldn't have to do it again stored in video format.

I think the notion of going from paid books to free content is noble, and I'd be willing to work for well below a standard software engineer salary. How can I get in contact with you to possibly get employment?

Re:Some of us would like to contribute, how can we (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864183)

I'll pay you 30% of the royalties my free content makes. That goes for anyone else reading too.

What's better? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864189)

What's better: Khan academy? Or sex with a mare?

ALL of you turn in your GEEK cards NOW! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864223)

Not one single "Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!" joke?!

Not one?!

You are a disappoint Slashdotters!

Re:ALL of you turn in your GEEK cards NOW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42865651)

Whenever my daughter and I log into our Khan Academy accounts, one or both of us will yell: "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN".

I imagine Sal probably rues the day that movie was made.

Re:ALL of you turn in your GEEK cards NOW! (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about a year ago | (#42865919)

Whenever my daughter and I log into our Khan Academy accounts, one or both of us will yell: "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN".

I imagine Sal probably rues the day that movie was made.

I'm sure he does. Right now he's wondering if you've heard the Klingon proverb that revenge is a dish best served cold. Soon you will feel his wrath.

Why would he rue? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#42866363)

I imagine Sal probably rues the day that movie was made.

I highly doubt that. Everyone thinks that moment was awesome, and his acting was awesome in it. Given that one goal of being an actor is to be well known, how could you rue being part of one of the most iconic moments in film history?

And again, it's not like people thought it was funny/bad, most thought it was awesome. Even though it's similar it's pretty much diametrically opposed in recognition and effect than the "NOOOOOOOOOO" moment in Star Wars EP3. That would be something to rue...

Where are all the CS courses? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864253)

Where are all the "traditional" Computer Science courses? I'm not asking about the "interactive manual" type courses like how to do loops in Python - there are a ton of materials about that all over the web. I'm asking about theoretical computer science, such as Turing completeness, Chomsky hierarchy, abstract data types, compiler design, that kind of stuff which is the backbone of a university computer science education.

The reason I'm asking is not to diminish the value of hands-on courses, but because many (including myself) were not able to get a "traditional" CS degree, coming into programming jobs from other disciplines (or no degree at all) and are largely self taught. Self teaching is great when it comes to practical stuff early on, but once you move on to more senior roles you start feeling the gaps of not understanding the theory behind your tools, design, and implementation, as much as you should.

Re:Where are all the CS courses? (1)

Cragen (697038) | about a year ago | (#42870369)

Where are my mod points when I NEED them? This^(googleplex). There is a HUGE gap between the basic intros and actual useful (soph, junior & senior level courses) information. In fact, this is probably what is holding back ANY info. "revolution". Until then, there are no truly useful answers in the crowd.

Re:Where are all the CS courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42871311)

They're all on Coursera/Udacity

Re:Where are all the CS courses? (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#42912363)

Where are all the "traditional" Computer Science courses? I'm not asking about the "interactive manual" type courses like how to do loops in Python - there are a ton of materials about that all over the web. I'm asking about theoretical computer science, such as Turing completeness, Chomsky hierarchy, abstract data types, compiler design, that kind of stuff which is the backbone of a university computer science education.

The reason I'm asking is not to diminish the value of hands-on courses, but because many (including myself) were not able to get a "traditional" CS degree, coming into programming jobs from other disciplines (or no degree at all) and are largely self taught. Self teaching is great when it comes to practical stuff early on, but once you move on to more senior roles you start feeling the gaps of not understanding the theory behind your tools, design, and implementation, as much as you should.

Khan Academy was launched to help school-age kids (they talk a lot about something called "K-12" on the site, but I have no idea what that means.

So for a variation on your question:

Is it likely that Khan Academy will expand "upward" into more university-level courses or does the current roadmap only plan for "outward" growth into other subject courses at the school level?

other forms of learning (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#42864327)

Lecture has ruled the classroom for hundreds of years, usurping the dialogue. However we now know that lecture is not effective for all students, and probably more damming, is may not be effective at teach concepts that students are not previously familiar [harvardmagazine.com]

As Khan Academy, at least in my exposure to it, is about listening to someone talk watching writing on a board, do you think that this is teaching good pedagogy? Do you think it reinforces the idea that visual learners are the smartest people, the people who deserve to be educated? Is there any plans to expand the current format ot include other learning styles. For instance, I am not one of those that thinks manipulative have to be used in math, but I do think a math classroom with no manipulative is not as reaching to as broed a learner base as it could be. Or having an interactive element where a formative assessment might be conducted during the video?

"is may not be effective at teach"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42869685)

... It sure didn't work for you!

Re:"is may not be effective at teach"... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#42912405)

... It sure didn't work for you!

I don't know... his English was good enough that you didn't notice he was a non-native speaker, so his education must have been pretty good.

Sorry AC, there's only one person showing poor education around here, and that's you....

Plans to make KA easier for researchers to use? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42864603)

I'm a middle school teacher experimenting with using KA with my classes. I think it is an amazing tool, especially for differentiation -- helping teachers to help their students who are behind have successes in math and, ideally, work towards getting caught back up to their peers. I think it can allow math teachers to do more interesting and fun (non-drill) types of work in the classroom, such as focusing more on students learning by doing open-ended, authentic, rich projects with each other.

The key word there is that I *think* it must be helpful to the type of classroom described above. I want to know it is, and as part of our practice in Ontario, Canada, it is encouraged that teachers engage in personal inquiry projects to get more data on whether what we think is working actually is. It is difficult to get the data I need out of KA. We're having to do a lot of manual grabbing of student usage times and populating spreadsheets with that. Any plans to extend the external API to allow more sophisticated queries? Or, perhaps plans to provide a tool allowing more extensive data dumps which researchers can use?

And if you don't have plans at the moment, does this post influence that? ;-) With a more thorough access to student data, I expect there will be researchers who will be more interested in investigating KA in their research and fleshing out the actual benefits (and also any issues that might be addressed).

My students and I thank you!

(mr.walker at walker-clan dot com)

Re:Plans to make KA easier for researchers to use? (1)

uncqual (836337) | about a year ago | (#42865509)

This is perhaps the most glaring weakness of Khan Academy for classroom use. I can't find much data (once one figures out a few undocumented APIs by guessing at their names) that isn't available in the API -- but "available" does not necessarily equate to "practical".

My question: Is an efficient API in the works for those who want to extract data for hundreds of students and process them offline using traditional analytic tools?

If you don't have too many students (like maybe less than 150), it's practical to write a script (I used python just because there's a sample for the OAUTH handling that was written in python), extract it into CSV files, load those into a database of your choosing (I used postgres because it's pretty good at analytical queries and I'm very comfortable with SQL), and query away.

The big problem is the extract speed... I was dealing with about 1000 students (across, obviously, several classrooms) and the full extract takes more than 15 hours using a single API thread because of the high granularity of the API and the latency of each call. By multithreading the API fetches, it appears that I can reduce that by about a factor of 5x or a little more (I got bored before I completed that effort so that's just a preliminary estimate), but it appears that adding more concurrent fetches hits API throttling (or, maybe, just resource limitations) on the Khan cloud side at less than 10 threads.

It would be nice to be able to pull selected data in large "pulls" (perhaps as CSV zip files) and, ideally, for changes since some date (so one can maintain an incrementally updated offline database -- that should only take a few minutes a day).

Re:Plans to make KA easier for researchers to use? (1)

Ben Alpert (2839475) | about a year ago | (#42874023)

KA dev here. Nothing's in the works right now but I'd love to hear how the current APIs work and don't work for you – if you email me at alpert@khanacademy.org what you're doing then I'll take a look.

Re:Plans to make KA easier for researchers to use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42876517)

Will do! Thanks for the reply.

Re:Plans to make KA easier for researchers to use? (1)

uncqual (836337) | about a year ago | (#42913693)

For the record, "Will do! Thanks for the reply." AC reply [slashdot.org] is not me.

Explanation vs exploration: Pedagogical challenge? (2)

fantomas (94850) | about a year ago | (#42864807)

I've heard a criticism of the Khan Academy pedagogic approach is that it is explanation based (effectively the old model: the teacher talks, the student listens, the student carries out an exercise, listens again) - while schools are moving towards exploration based learning (where students are encourage to try and approach problems from different angles supported by teacher-as-facilitator).

To what extent does Khan Academy replicate a very old fashioned rote-learning form of education (albeit delivered and presented via a new media with minor improvements like pause and rewind), and in what aspects does it offer significant new pedagogical advances in learning?

Re:Explanation vs exploration: Pedagogical challen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42865383)

while schools are moving towards exploration based learning

Where's that? I know everyone doesn't live in the US, but there, schools are actually focusing more and more on rote memorization thanks to the government mandating that students take numerous lousy standardized tests...

e.g. UK, enquiry based learning (2)

fantomas (94850) | about a year ago | (#42869511)

For example the UK, where there's growing interesting in enquiry based learning [ofsted.gov.uk] - this links to a report by Ofsted, the government's "Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills".Enquiry learning (called inquiry learning in the USA) also has its champions in North America (e.g. Roy Pea). A quick look around suggests that this approach also has been tried with success in Scandinavia [wiley.com]( "Context of teaching and learning school science in Finland: Reflections on PISA 2006 results" by Lavonen and Laaksonen).

Re:Explanation vs exploration: Pedagogical challen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42869669)

I've heard a criticism of the Khan Academy pedagogic approach is that it is explanation based (effectively the old model: the teacher talks, the student listens, the student carries out an exercise, listens again) - while schools are moving towards exploration based learning (where students are encourage to try and approach problems from different angles supported by teacher-as-facilitator).

To what extent does Khan Academy replicate a very old fashioned rote-learning form of education (albeit delivered and presented via a new media with minor improvements like pause and rewind), and in what aspects does it offer significant new pedagogical advances in learning?

The question you need to ask yourself first is what form of education is better? I have no motivation, no interests and a rebellious personality. Without proper education i'd be a bum, criminal or cimbination of both instead of a systems administrator at a decent company.

What impact will online courses... (1)

roubles (716740) | about a year ago | (#42864903)

(in your view) have on the cost of a four year degree in the next 20 years? I am not speaking directly in context of Khan academy - but online courses in general at universities - as well.

Traditionally, the cost of a course is divided between the limited physically present students. With the advent of online universities and courses, that cost can be divided across students across many geographical boundaries. A student in his parent's basement in Malawi could theoretically take a Political Science course at Stanford. This has many advantages:

a) Universities can educate more students per semester per course - so they bring in more revenue.
b) Students don't have to pay for room and board - so it reduces the direct burden on the students.
c) Deserving students can take courses without having to go through the hell of getting a US visa.

For degrees (like Computer Science) that don't need much laboratory work (that you need to be physically present for), it seems to me that the cost of education should actually start to come down drastically with online courses - but I know I am missing something and big education is going to work hard to keep the fees up.

Effectiveness (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#42864911)

How do you know how effective your programs are? How do you calibrate your presentations? How do you accommodate different learning styles?

I ask because most of the methods that rate teaching effectiveness is thin. That is, “Does New Math work better then drilling students?” “Does this video work for dyslexia students?” etc.

I have seen may teachers guided by antidotal evidence or heuristic rules – which makes sense because you need to evaluate students taught by thousands of teachers - each who have their individual style.

It would seem to me that you would have a vast trove of data to pull out – and validate – how effective your courses are.

Why videos? (2, Insightful)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#42865209)

One of the big things about Khan and other massive online course systems is videos. Yes, videos. E.g. I once saw this 5 minute video explaining why dividing anything by zero was not defined. Rather than, plus infinity. I summarized it as:

Dividing by zero is undefined. Why? Well, let's divide by 1 by really small positive numbers.
1/0.1 = 10
1/0.01 = 100
1/0.000001 = 1000000
So, it looks like, 1/0 could be infinity. But positive infinity.
Because, look at what happens when we divided by really small negative numbers
1/-0.1 = -10
1/-0.01 = -100
1/-0.000001 = -1000000
So, maybe 1/0 should be negative infinity. But that doesn't match what we saw above. It can't be both, and it makes no sense to give it an arbitry value as that wouldn't work with the rest of mathematics.
Therefore, undefined.

OK, so the question is: why videos? You are cutting off most of the world's population who do not have access to decent Internet and thus can't download and watch all these videos. If you provided text (even if just a transcript along with some screenshots where necessary) you would be able to reach a much bigger audience, including those who could benefit most.

This (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42872521)

I hate videos for that very reason. Why should I spend time watching a guy talk when I can absorb the same information at least 5 times faster by using that lovely, centuries old information compression method, called 'reading text'?

Bugged me in the couple online courses I did, until I figured out I could just look at the powerpoint or whatever the guy was using as the visual aid, and only zoom in on the video for the bits where that wasn't in itself clear enough.

Re:This (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#42913121)

Basically cos most of us are rubbish at writing. For all our flaws and "umm"s and "aahhh"s, there's something in natural speech that is... well... natural, and most of us remove that when we put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

Re:Why videos? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43004469)

KA Lite

If you need to use Khan Academy in an environment without internet, we recommend using KA Lite, an unofficial volunteer-driven initiative to provide a version of the Khan Academy videos and exercises that works offline.

Internships (1)

Niris (1443675) | about a year ago | (#42865631)

As someone who is currently a senior in computer science and looking for summer internships, what is it that Khan Academy developers look for in perspective interns? I've looked over the blog posts from some of the past interns, and their projects all seem pretty amazing. Is it possible for someone who doesn't have a fair amount of professional level experience to jump in to the internship program with Khan Academy? Disclaimer: I currently have an application in for the internship program, hence my curiosity :)

Curriculum (1)

RevSpaminator (1419557) | about a year ago | (#42865929)

Does the academy's curriculum include (or plan to include) courses on advanced genetic engineering, cryogenics or advanced political science?

Internationalization and Localization (1)

gouttonio (1700654) | about a year ago | (#42865955)

I've rummaged a bit through the sources presented on https://github.com/Khan [github.com] and I could not find the source for the actual website.

How do you plan to implement support for I18N in the exercises ?

Re:Internationalization and Localization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42869755)

The original repository with the source code for the website was deleted 10 months ago, but luckily some people forked it so that it can still be seen: https://github.com/PaulWagener/khan-website

Grammar on KA (1)

Sebastian Fernandez Giraldo (2838643) | about a year ago | (#42866161)

Hi Ben, thank you for doing this. A while ago Sal mentioned the possibility of doing a grammar video series and creating modules to help students practice and master the concepts. Is this still being worked on or has it taken a back seat? If a back seat, to what? I feel that a lot of the educational websites (KA, Udacity, Coursera, etc) focus on math/programming/science and the humanities have been *somewhat* neglected. Thanks for teaching me linear algebra!

What might Ed Tech developers learn from you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42866173)

Hi there,

We education developers often have to solve novel problems, particularly with respect to assessment. For instance, a number of good questions might be asked and answered by observing the duration, replays and other data (such as the time when a person stops to view) about video.

I wonder what kinds of educational / assessment observation challenges you've had to solve technically, and what the education developer community might learn, write-large, by your progress (or struggle therein)?

Thanks & keep up the great work,

--DC

Should we cut degree into smaller chucks that (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42866351)

Should we cut degree into smaller chucks?

That are a better fit for people who want to learn but don't have the time / funds for a full time college?

Can make tech / trades schools have more meaning and not be roped into the older degree system.

Fix the skills gaps issues

Let people who learn betting by working hands on get something out of it.

Get people in the armed forces something to to say that they can do X job with out having to go to school for a full 2-4+ years to get a piece of paper saying the same thing?

Jude the Obscure (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about a year ago | (#42866879)

Discussions about online learning tend to remind me of the book "Jude the Obscure," by Thomas Hardy. It's been a couple of decades, but from what I remember it's the tragic story of a poor working man who dreams of pursuing education/knowledge but who can only barely scrape by with the essentials and can rarely afford even the occasional book. Do institutions like Khan Academy mostly or completely erase that scenario in the modern day? Would a modern Jude have been able to educate and better himself? Are there other obstacles that replace the cost as a barrier to taking this free learning and finding advancement or satisfaction?

Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42867815)

Is the software going to be open sourced or available for free? I could use some of its features in a slightly different context.

Fundamental Development Methodologies (1)

platypusfriend (1956218) | about a year ago | (#42868021)

Fundamental programming methodologies, such as Test Driven Development, seeming to be increasing in popularity. To what extent does Khan Academy teach any form of fundamental software development methodology, and why?

Solving bugs (1)

De Lemming (227104) | about a year ago | (#42872535)

Why is it that a bug accepted in 2010 [google.com], and which received a lot of comments from others with the same problem, is still not acted upon? Is it lack of resources?

Disclaimer: I filled this bug report.

Non-science courses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42911363)

What improvements can you bring to the table for non-science education? I.e. how do you make a ethics or civics course better?

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