Archive for August 1, 2012
A piece from a collegiate reporter on requiring computing in undergraduate and high school classes.
Math, writing, history and…computer science?
A typical list of required courses for a college student today does not include computer science — but should it?
Nice analysis from “Gas station without pumps” on what’s offered via Coursera and why the course offerings are what they are. I particularly liked his wordplay on MOOC: Massively Over-hyped Online Course. He suggests offering a Coursera course soon, because it’s unlikely to be around for long.
A lot of the courses that are offered are the “book learning” courses that require no lab facilities, no face-to-face discussions, and no close mentoring. They are the easiest courses to offer, but the ones least likely to save universities much by switching to an online format (those sorts of lecture classes are already relatively cheap per student).
One exception is computer science classes, since the specialized equipment needed for CS courses is now so cheap that just about anyone who can access on-line courses has the necessary equipment already, and much of the software needed for CS courses is available free (often open-source). If grading the courses is reduced to low-quality automatic checking of programs (a travesty that has already happened in some brick-and-mortar CS courses), then there is nothing stopping the scaling of fairly advanced courses to MOOCs.