教育报道 - 通过网上开放课程免费获得教育
This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
A class with tens or even hundreds of thousands of students might sound like a teacher's bad dream. But a big idea in higher education these days is the massive open online course, or MOOC.
Some universities offer free, non-credit MOOCs available to anyone in the world. Others charge for courses and provide credits. The idea is still developing.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently started its first MOOC. The school plans to offer many free, non-credit courses through a project called MITx.
So far, most massive open online courses are in computer science, technology, mechanics and engineering. For example, students around the world are taking a free course called "Building a Computer Search Engine." Two computer scientists, Sebastian Thrun and David Evans, are offering this course through udacity.com.
到目前为止，大规模网络开放课程包括计算机科学、科技、力学和工程。例如，世界各地的学生正在学习一项名为“建立一个计算机引擎”的免费课程。两名计算机科学家，塞巴斯蒂安·史朗（Sebastian Thrun）和大卫·埃文斯（David Evans）通过udacity.com网站提供了这一课程。
Mr. Evans is on leave from the University of Virginia, where he is an associate professor. Mr. Thrun is a Stanford research professor and a Google Fellow best known for his work on a driverless car.
There are no education requirements for the course. The students watch short videos. Then, says Mr. Evans, they take informal, ungraded quizzes after the videos each week for six weeks.
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology mathematics professor Gilbert Strang is among the many educators involved in massive open online courses|
DAVID EVANS: "Quizzes are part of the lecture to keep students engaged and keep them thinking, for students to be able to check that they understood what we covered. Those are not graded and students try those as often as they want."
They can repeatedly watch the videos and take the quizzes whenever they want.
Students receive homework. They join online groups to exchange questions and answers about the course.
The teachers hold virtual office hours to answer questions that the students have voted to send them. They also present their own questions and observations.
The students take a final examination to show where they rate in the class Everyone who finishes the course receives a grade and proof of completion. Top students get letters documenting their work.
Mr. Thrun started Udacity, which supports free MOOCs. Udacity hopes to make a profit in the future by connecting possible employers with interested students. On his Stanford homepage he says he wants to "democratize" education. Education, he says, should be free, accessible for all, everywhere and any time.
So how does David Evans compare the education in MOOCs to traditional teaching?
DAVID EVANS: "There are things that we can do better in the online format. We can certainly deliver high-quality education to so much more students at much lower cost ."
But he recognizes the limits.
DAVID EVANS: "Part of what I hope will happen as a result of this is that the best traditional universities will be able to focus on the things they can do really well that can't be done better through an online university."
And that’s the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. I’m Bob Doughty.