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“Why some of the best universities are giving away their courses”

An article on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in the Seattle Times Pacific NW Magazine leads with UW CSE alum Greg Linden and quotes UW CSE professor Ed Lazowska:

“Seattle tech entrepreneur Greg Linden … decided to go to college – without leaving home.

“Through Stanford University, he took a class on robotic-car programming from professor Sebastian Thrun, who led the team that designed Google’s self-driving car.

“He also scarfed down a class on computer program design from Google Research director Peter Norvig, who used to oversee computational sciences at NASA. And he gobbled up a class on machine learning from another Stanford professor who directs the university’s Artificial Intelligence Lab.

“All the classes were online, open to anyone. Linden didn’t have to fill out an application or send in his transcripts …

“In July, the UW became one of 12 top-tier universities that joined one of the online startups, Coursera, launched by two computer-science professors at Stanford. The UW’s free classes are expected to begin this fall …

“Ed Lazowska, who holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & engineering at the University of Washington, says advanced technology can be a powerful tool in helping educate large numbers of people and, just as importantly, figuring out how people learn best.”

Read more here.