Archive for January 31, 2013

Documentary Aims to Make Programming Cool

Code.org is aimed at making programming cool, and they’re going to do it with a documentary:

Code.org’s initial effort will be a short film, currently being edited, that will feature various luminaries from the technology industry talking about how exciting and accessible programming is. Two of the most famous programmers and entrepreneurs in history — Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, and Bill Gates, the chairman and co-founder of Microsoft – were among the people interviewed for the film, according to a person with knowledge of the project who wasn’t authorized to discuss details about it.

Lesley Chilcott, a producer of the documentaries “Waiting for ‘Superman’” and “An Inconvenient Truth,” is making the film.

via A New Group Aims to Make Programming Cool – NYTimes.com.

January 31, 2013 at 1:12 am 2 comments

Grades are in for a pioneering free Johns Hopkins online class: Adding more to the public good

Some more statistics from another Coursera course.  The final comments are interesting: Through MOOCs, “everyone can get at least some fraction of what we believe is fundamental knowledge.”  That’s true.  The interesting question is whether MOOCs get more students a fraction that they didn’t have previously (see the edX data about 80% repeating the course) than a similar face-to-face course.  It’s not obvious to me either way — there are certainly results that have us questioning the effectiveness of our face-to-face classes.  While MOOCs lead to few finishing, maybe those that do finish learn more than in a face-to-face class, and maybe overall (amount of learning across number of students), MOOCs contribute more to the public good?

Read on for the final metrics on Caffo’s class and a few thoughts from the associate professor at the university’s school of public health.

Number of students who signed up for Caffo’s class: 15,930.

Number who ordinarily sign up for the class when it is taught solely on campus in Baltimore: a few dozen.

Active users in the final week of the class: 2,778

Total unique visitors who watched Caffo’s video lectures: 8,380

Total who submitted a quiz: 2,882

Total who submitted homework: 2,492

Total who passed the course (averaging 70 percent or better on quizzes): 748

Total who passed with distinction (averaging 90 percent or better): 447

And here is Caffo’s take:

“Regardless of how MOOCs wind up, it is awesome to be a professor in a time where teaching is the hottest topic in higher education at research-driven universities. I also have a lot of sympathy for democratizing education and information. Very few people will have the privilege of a Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health education. But, with these efforts [including free online initiatives such as Open Courseware, iTunes U, Coursera] everyone can get at least some fraction of what we believe is fundamental knowledge for attacking the world’s public health problems.”

via Grades are in for a pioneering free Johns Hopkins online class – College, Inc. – The Washington Post.

January 31, 2013 at 1:00 am 7 comments


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