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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wikipedia University

Gates Wikipedia University?

June 10, 2011, 12:42 pm
I received an e-mail from James Loynd recently, commenting favorably on an appearance I made on PBS’s News Hour. Mr. Loynd asked, “What if the best professors in every department were to video tape their lectures? A student could them work his/her way towards a degree off campus. Even chat-room discussions with grad students could assist the students. Testing could be…not necessarily on campus, maybe even at your local YMCA.” Of course, this is not the first time the idea has been suggested, but the question arises: Why are we not moving aggressively to do something like this?
More specifically, why doesn’t someone—say, the Gates Foundation—hire 100 or so stellar professors in 20 disciplines to offer perhaps 150 to 200 absolutely superb courses online, with testing administered by an outside agency (say, the ACT, SAT, or Underwriter’s Laboratories)?

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