Monday, 13 May 2013

Top 5 people in free online education

A lot of initiative related to Massive Open Online Courses are being launched and the free and open online education in general is a very fast moving field.

Who has had the biggest impact in the field so far? Who is moving things forward?

Here’s a subjective ‘top 5’:

Founder of the non-profit organisation Khan Academy

named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by the magazine Time in 2012,

it seems that +Salman Khan single handedly spearheaded the online education revolution. Khan Academy'slow production value videos on topics ranging from calculus to history have now been watched several hundreds of millions times and Salman Khan 2011 TED Talk inspired others to follow in his footsteps.

Inspired by Salman Khan to put his Stanford course on Artificial Intelligence online, +Sebastian Thrun, along with fellow Stanford professor +Peter Norvig taught the first real MOOC the seminal Stanford AI class.
The experience of teaching tens of thousands of students from all around the world prompted +Sebastian Thrun to relinquish his tenure and start Udacity.

Co-founders of Coursera, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller were named two of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by the magazine Time in 2013. Ng and Koller are jointly responsible for creating an environment in which the World’s most prestigious educational institutions feel compelled to offer their best courses online for free. On top of the growing offer on it’s own platform, other MOOC platforms such as edX, Futurelearn and Open2study probably wouldn’t exist without Coursera showing the way.

Introduced at TED in 2011, Duolingo which Luis von Ahn co-founded offers a platform for learning languages for free while translating the web.
This concept of massive-scale online collaboration holds great promise for open online education to remain completely free to the user.

Finally, this short list would be incomplete without mentioning Bill Gates. Education is one of the main focus of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been putting his has been funding Khan Academy as well as the development of MOOCs.

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