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Comments about ‘Stanford professor resigns, launches Udacity: Free, online, university-level computer science courses’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 2 2012 12:00 p.m. MST

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raybies
Layton, UT

The dirty little secret about computer science is that the majority of the work skills you need once you get that "degree" in computer science you will find on the web for free... Programming languages are changing so fast that it is nearly impossible to keep current in the old academic model.

Even this offering has a potential to be outdated in a year or two... because what's being done now in CS is not cutting edge next week.

Rocket Science
Brigham City, UT

Isn't it interesting that anything that has a potential of bringing down the cost of education is so often discounted, discredited, bad-mouthed, or campaigned against by certain groups until it is destroyed or given-up on. I hope this effort is successful and I hope it takes off into other subjects.

University accrediting agencies will probably refuse to allow college credit for such classes or degrees that include such classes because it will not further their interests. Yes, true education is priceless, but the cost of a college education has gotten out of hand while many university administrators balk at most suggestions for cutting costs.

USU is a good example of a University that serves itself while not serving the students well - basic required classes students can't get into requiring additonal semesters to complete a degree, excessive fees on top of tuition, etc.

washcomom
Beaverton, OR

My kids use the Khan website to understand what their teachers fail to teach. It really is great.

Hopefully Udacity will make education more affordable to others who really want to continue, but lack of funds and time prevent it. This way, they can study at their own leisure.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Raybies,

You're comment is so absolutely true- expect one sentence- "because what's being done now in CS is not cutting edge next week."

Truth is, what they teach now is already outdated half of the time. Computer science changes daily. Platforms, languages, 'standards' of any kind really- they all change more frequently than college systems will keep up with. Colleges want to standardize and format how they teach students. This takes time and puts them a semester or more behind.

What should be taught is to throw students into the bucket and tell them to climb out on their own. Rather than standardizing how to teach about an object that never stops moving. A better approach would be to place students next to the object and tell them to keep up. If they can't handle that, they can't handle the 'real world' of computer science anyway.

All the information is online. More up-to-date information is online. And this is coming from a guy can't code at all, who's merely spent time on MSDN or figuring my way through python scripts to get something I wanted done, and so on. I beta test everything (typing this from Win 8) but in no way can code. If even I realize the reality of your statement, colleges need a massive reality check.

iscorefilm
Salt Lake City, UT

Rocket Science: Agreed! What I'm perusing is a very innovative-demanding field. I then learned that in this field a degree is worthless. People only care about 'what you know, can do, how well you can, and how fast you can'. I've learned the vast majority of what I know on my own anyway. I still learned some important things in the classroom and still will, but the majority of my skills have been learned on my own.

I think the real problem is not having enough professors. It's always about 'cutting costs' to save on tuition. Meanwhile new construction, new facilities, new books, new new new. We don't need state-of-the-art everything. That's just schools feeling like they need to be competitive. But the students really need more teachers and smaller classes.

We also need to stop wasting people's time by having to take certain general classes that will never benefit me. Many have, and I'm grateful for them. But adhering to an inflexible system is very frustrating. One wonders why costs are high when I have to pay for classes and books that I don't need. Professors requiring newest editions is like a deadly plague of financial waste. Costs are high because we require so much wasted time and money from students.

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