Jan 28, 2012 5:12 AM GMT
Educators who don't adapt will be left behind... but people who want to learn will be big winners.
Udemy, a company that allows anyone to create and sell courses through its online platform, has announced a new area of its site, called The Faculty Project, devoted to courses by professors at a number of top institutions, such as Colgate, Duke University, Stanford University, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Virginia, Dartmouth College and Vassar College. While Udemy is a for-profit enterprise, the Faculty Project courses will be free.
The goal is to “elevate the brand,” according to Gagan Biyani, Udemy’s president and co-founder. The company says it has no immediate plans to monetize the Faculty Project, and would never do so without the input and permission of its faculty contributors.
The inaugural Faculty Project courses include many humanities electives normally reserved for small classrooms of undergraduates. Among them: “Elixir: A History of Water and Humans,” “Select Classics in Russian Literature” and “The Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness.” Garland and the project’s other professorial recruits are developing, pro bono, mini-lecture-based versions of courses they offer on their home campuses. Udemy says it does not require the professors to relinquish ownership of the courses.
There are no caps on course enrollment. “It could be 10 people, it could be 100, it could be 1,000,” says Ben Ho, the Vassar College economics professor who is teaching the course on water and humans. But as far as interactivity, Udemy’s Faculty Project is more akin to Yale Open Courses -- where users can watch lectures and consult syllabuses for free -- than to Udacity, the venture launched this week by a team of former Stanford academics, which aspires to administer quizzes and grade its anticipated droves of students, which may number in the tens or hundreds of thousands.