Thursday, March 8, 2012

Khan Academy

Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, is scheduled to be the commencement speaker for Rice University's commencement this May.  I haven't heard of Khan Academy before, but it's basically like the MIT Open Courseware but better!  It's a non-for-profit website that is trying to bring a free-education to anyone anywhere.  They are not full-length classes, but short clips on individual topics, including SAT test preparation.  After you watch the video, you can test your knowledge using the practice exercises.

My dad keeps saying that education is going to go through a big change in the near future because all the online education opportunities.  With websites like this, it's hard not to agree.  The only thing this doesn't give you is a formal degree. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which you often need the actual degree to get a job even if you have taught yourself the material.  Interestingly, I think this will push universities (e.g. Rice) to incorporate more online courses so anyone anywhere can sign up to take the classes as long as you pay the tuition.  The question I still have is will websites like this eventually drive the cost of education down because there is so much freely available information out there?

2 comments:

  1. I keep wondering this too. Technology pushes the cost of actual education down. Easy student credit pushes the price of university education up. How long will students put up with it? College has become a form of hazing: there are cheaper alternatives, but you have to get a degree if you want to join the economy.

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  2. As a student of Khan Academy, I'll admit... they have better teachers (for general undergrad courses) than LSU and UH. It's inevitable that better teachers, more accessibility, and lower tuition will create a competitive school.

    If the degree plans could be accredited (by adding tests), a high level of education would be available *practically* free of charge. Universities would still exist, but their role would change. It's the future, and I believe that Khan Academy and MIT Open Courseware set the bar quite high for online education.

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