Schools Training

1 on 1 Tutoring in a 100,000 Student Class? Stanford Makes it Possible

3 SEP 2014
Career Path : Education News

…with the help of technology of course. A Stanford class taught by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence was opened to students all over the world via free online weekly courses. Norvig and Thrun wanted to use this opportunity to test a one-on-one style teaching method to a large online student population—and did so with success.

Instead of simply filming a lecture and asking students to submit a weekly assignment online (as other online courses have done in the past), the two professors wished to find a method of engaging students to stick with the course and not get lost, or fall asleep.

To achieve this, their online video courses would only be 2-6 minutes in length. Instead of a head-on recording of a lecture, the camera would point down towards an open notebook, where Norvig would write out equations and other visual information in a step by step process. The video would sometimes freeze and students would have to answer a question to proceed. One student said:

“”This class felt like sitting in a bar with a really smart friend who’s explaining something you haven’t grasped, but are about to.”

In the end, all 160,000 students enrolled in the free online class watched at least one video a week, and 20,000 did all their homework. The result of this online course was the student initiative to create forums to discuss the classwork, and overall a very good attendance rate. As a result of this experiment, Norvig and Thrun were able to gather data from thousands of students, which they say will be used to improve this tutor-style teaching method and the state of international online teaching.

Source: TEDTalk