Cool Blog: Gas Station Without Pumps

Cool Blog: Gas Station Without Pumps

Pacbio, bioinformatics, electronic circuits, VLSI design, MOOCs, home-schooling, blog without ‘about me’ - what is there not to like? Our readers will enjoy this very interesting blog from Santa Cruz, California.


We especially enjoyed his thorough coverage of the MOOCs (Massively Open Online Course or ‘Massively Overhyped Online Course’ according to him)

1. MOOC game

2. MOOC roundup

3. MOOC failures in remedial math

4. Some MOOC retention rates amazingly low

Overall he concluded that the MOOCs had been complete failures.

By now, probably everyone interested in the MOOC debate has read one or more articles about San Jose States experiment with Udacity last Spring. The best article Ive found about why San Jose State terminated the pilot is from the San Jose Mercury News: MOOC mashup: San Jose State University Udacity experiment with online-only courses fizzles. That article explains that the experiment was stopped for the same reason that clinical trials are often stoppedthere was clear evidence that the new treatment was worse than the standard one.

We agree with him about the hype part, but that is what the VCs in Silicon valley do to everything (and then dump the nascent companies to public). However, does the failure of current crop of MOOCs mean that online courses will continue to fail, or is there a successful model yet to be discovered? After all, the first generation of internet search engines failed badly as well. Maybe the current effort of replacing class-room lectures with identical and remote video lectures is too dumb, because it has not utilize the full power of the internet. The other possibility with MOOCs could be like physicists’ efforts to solve protein-folding, where the killer mix never got discovered.

It will be interesting to revisit the MOOC debate after Pavel Pevzner’s upcoming Coursera classes. Rosalind had been a success story so far, and Dr. Pevzner’s team is putting quite a bit of effort on the course. Will they discover the successful formula for online teaching?


Edit. Please do not comment - ‘it is the blog of so and so’. We know who the author is, but would prefer to let his contents speak for himself rather than his position or title.

Written by M. //