between experiences, people,
and technology, showcasing
emerging innovations and industry
leaders from around the world
across important applications of
design thinking and the broadening
field of the interaction design.
Our readers represent a growing
community of practice that
is of increasing and vital
tivities with which students are to be
engaged in the classroom, and teachers must give up their carefully crafted
Also, teachers need to be protected
from low student evaluation scores.
Mazur and others have reported that
students give lower evaluations in
courses with active learning—even
when the evidence shows they have
learned more. 1, 3 Students have grown
up with conventional lecture teaching,
and just like anyone else, they are resistant to change.
Beyond this, faculty must participate in these active learning approaches as learners, so they understand
how to facilitate them as instructors.
In my case, in my graduate training I
learned how discussion-oriented seminar courses are conducted, so it was
natural for me to facilitate the same
with my small group of “flipped classroom” AI students.
When Thrun was promoting the fall
2011 online AI course, his Twitter
feed included some bold claims: @
aiclass: “Advanced students will complete
the same homework and exams as Stanford students. So the courses will be equal
in rigor.”—September 28, 2011
The fall 2011 course for matriculated Stanford students included
programming assignments, and the
online one did not. This was a clear
shortcoming. But the new Udacity
courses include programming. Most
of my students got a lot out of the fall
Stanford course—and our weekly discussion sections made a difference.
But the weaker students struggled,
and a few strong students were bored.
This makes me wonder about the
large-scale applicability of the MOOC
format. We need to be able to support
students who are still learning how to
learn, and also challenge our best students. The MOOC concept does not
even attempt to address the role of a
small, research-oriented project-based
course. When we individually mentor
each student on his or her own ideas,
we are doing something that can never
be performed by an autograder.
Part of the excitement around
MOOCs is about their potential to
change education’s cost equation—
put a great course online once, and run
it unattended many times. But part of
the fun of the fall AI course was that
Thrun and Norvig were right there with
us, and that we were a large cohort of
students there with them.
1. Crouch, C.h. and mazur, e. peer instruction: ten years
of experience and results. Am. J. Phys. 69 (sept. 2001).
2. Day, j. and foley, j. evaluating a Web lecture
intervention in a human-computer interaction course.
IEEE Transactions on Education 49, 4 (nov. 2006).
3. fagen, a.p., Crouch, C.h., and mazur, e. peer
instruction: results from a range of classrooms. The
Physics Teacher 40 (2002).
4. fox, a. and patterson, D. Crossing the software education
chasm. Commun. ACM 55, 5 (may 2012), 44–49.
5. gaffney, j.D.h. et al. scaling up education reform.
Journal of College Science Teaching 37, 5 (may/june
6. Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open
Educational Resources, organisation for economic
Co-operation and Development, 2007.
7. koller, D. Death knell for the lecture: technology as a
passport to personalized education. New York Times
(Dec. 5, 2011).
8. lewin, t. Instruction for masses knocks down campus
walls. New York Times (mar. 4, 2012).
9. mcauley, a., stewart, b., siemens, g., and Cormier,
D. The MOOC Model for Digital Practice. 2010; http://
Fred G. Martin ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate
professor of computer science and associate dean in the
College of sciences at the university of massachusetts